First impressions matter. Get them right with quotes and estimates.

I’ll tell you about a recent experience with a lawyer that really stuck with me. I was looking for some legal advice on one of my business deals and getting some proposals from experts in the field. I received several well-crafted proposals from some extremely experienced lawyers to review.

But then, there was this one guy that just straight up sent me an invoice. I was a bit taken back since his invoice really stood out in the pile of proposals. It was as if he were asking to be paid before we even agreed to work together. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.

I think there’s a lesson here for all of us. First impressions matter, and sending an invoice to a client or prospect before they’ve actually agreed to hire you could sour the deal. That’s what makes quotes and estimates so important during your proposal process.

Next time you find yourself bidding on a project or writing a proposal, consider creating a Quote or Estimate to go along with your bid rather than an invoice.

Impress your customers with professional proposals

With Billy’s Quote & Estimates module, now available for all Billy Standard and Premium customers, you can communicate the price of your services without sending an invoice.

Not only could an “invoice” scare away a potential new client, but it will throw off some of your other numbers as well. When you send an invoice for a deal you’re still not sure about, your “Unpaid invoices” number won’t be right, especially if you’re only actually getting paid for 30% of invoices you send.

I don’t know about you, but I keep my eye on the “Unpaid invoices” section of my dashboard so I know if I’m buying lattes or drip coffee that month.

We made a video on quote creation using Billy, which you can watch here.

Addressing the quote directly to your customer with a friendly message is a great way to keep your business personal.

Next, you’ll want to add your products (or services) in addition to any applicable discounts. If you’re working with a new customer, tacking on a “first-timer” discount is a great way to provide a warm welcome.

If you’re a designer, architect or artist, chances are you may want to send over a design proof or proof of concept. It’s easy to attach a PDF or image to quotes in Billy, which will be added to the end of the quote when your customer views it.

It’s always a good idea to add an expiration date to your quote. This ensures that your customer doesn’t take forever to review it.

Once you’ve reviewed it (you’ll can always edit it later if you want), you’ll click ‘Save’.

Clicking the big green ‘Send as email’ button will allow you to customize the email you send to your customer. I always make sure to include a friendly message so they don’t think that it’s from a robot.

Once you’ve sent the quote, your customer will see a preview in their email inbox. They can download a full version by jumping into the Billy customer portal. If you’ve quoted multiple projects for your customer, they’ll be able to see all of the open quotes as well.

After they’ve had a chance to review it and are ready to move forward, they can digitally sign it and make it official. You’ll both receive email notifications as soon as this happens. Hooray! You’re in business.

Streamline your proposal process

You may have noticed that throughout this blog post, I’ve referred to quotes, estimates, and proposals as pretty much the same thing. Unfortunately, there aren’t really ‘standard’ definitions for these things, so you’ll have to do some research for what’s normal in your industry.

With that said, quotes, estimates and proposals are all available with both our standard and premium pricing plans.

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