So, you get a call for a quote from a company you know nothing about.

Nice opportunity, but you have lots of questions before you can come up with a financial figure.

Trouble is, the company contact just wants a figure s/he can plug into a budget.

Give the quote, get the job

Suppose I get a call from the marketing manager of a company. They're interested in having me produce an employee newsletter. That's really all they know. There's no decision yet because they don't have a budget figure for the newsletter.

This happens all the time for business owners. You can mistake the caller as a tire kicker, but actually, the contract can be yours.

Here's how I handle this.

First I ask a few questions, for instance:

Are we talking about one location or more than one?

Am I doing all the photography as well as interviewing and writing?

Will I do the design and the delivery to a printer?

Do you want to do this seasonally, as in four times a year?

Any idea of the number of pages you'll want? The size of the pages?

Those are enough questions to ask. They won't know the answers, but in asking the questions you're actually positioning yourself as the expert that you are.

Make assumptions

So then I'll make a few assumptions:

a. there will be four newsletters per year,

b. I would be doing everything so they're dealing with only one person,

c. there are two locations, both in Ontario,

d. that each newsletter is 12 letter-sized pages, cheaper for mailing when necessary.

And then I'll give a financial quote, maybe saying something like this:

"Based on those assumptions, I can't really tell you the exact number of hours it would take, but I will offer to do the first two newsletters for your company for $2,500 each plus HST.

That would include full preparation and production of 12-page newsletters for your two locations.

If it takes more hours than that, I will not charge you for them.

If it takes less hours, your bill will be lower."

Then they know they can count on the budget figure.

I then wrap up by suggesting that after the second newsletter is completed, we'll re-visit the budget figures so we're both comfortable.

The process works!

Every single time I took this approach, I got the contract.

When we give potential customers what they need, they develop an immediate appreciation for us.