This is a business request one hopes to receive on a regular basis, from individuals who want to buy what you are selling. The problem however is, once you have given a quotation to the prospect, you lose almost all control over the sales process. The prospect will only return if they require further information regarding the quotation, or, if they want to buy the product. By providing rates up front, we essentially create an imbalance in this relationship, which is then strongly in favor of the prospect. To deal with this issue:

1. Do your best not to quote to a customer immediately.

2. Find time to either arrange a meeting with the prospect, or a phone call, to further understand their needs and requirements.

At this stage, if the prospect tries to only get hold of pricing information without providing any further information, I downgrade the importance of such a prospect. If however, the prospect is open to sharing what their requirements are, and the product/service that they require, this is a stage where I certainly send the first quote.

3. I use bundle pricing in most places, and do my best to avoid list pricing whenever possible.

If you have gathered enough data during the information gathering session, you should have a fair idea of what the requirements and budget of the customer are. In cases where this was not established, I find prospects begin to ask for breakdowns etc, as the quotation may include items they may not require.

4. All quotations should have clearly stipulated time frames for validity.

5. All quotations should be followed up on a periodic basis after sending them in. If the customer fails to respond after the 2nd or 3rd attempt, it is best to decrease the importance of the prospect, and shift your focus to higher probability prospects.

How do you handle your quotation process? I would really like to hear some tips that other entrepreneurs use to increase the conversion rate from quotations to invoicing.