Two Quotes For Your Next Quote

Quote. Price. Proposal…what do you call your submission of a dollar valuation required to complete a specific scope of work? Does it matter?

I never say, “May we submit a price?” when prospecting and the reason is, it underlines the word ‘price’ by suggesting that is all you are submitting, a price.

I don’t really say, ‘Quote’ either because in my mind, it sounds too much like you are ‘shooting from the hip’. “Let me swing by and I’ll give you a quote.” However, I used the word quote in the title of this post for the ‘artistic flair’ it provides.

I like saying, “Let me submit a proposal.” and the reason is I am submitting much more than a price and/or a quote. I am indeed submitting a final price but only after it follows a list of value-adds and qualifications for the proposal.

We recently have been getting ‘quotes’ on a few things around our house such as an upgrade to our security system, inside painting projects, landscaping. The way we received some these proposals made me cringe. One company made a great presentation on an iPad, delivered the ‘quote’ on the spot and then I never heard from them again.

Another company make the best presentation, offering thoughts and ideas that did not occur to me but took three days to deliver their proposal. When they did, it was in the form of a .png file (image) and the fine print was so small it was unreadable. As I tried to expand it, it became so blurry, I had to ask them to print and fax. That took three more days. I was flabbergasted as this is a national company with tons of advertising dollars, one would think they would spend a few bucks on their presentation.

However, I digress. What I would like to share comes from an experience of working with a company that has a great service offering, a great story, excellent collateral material, competitive pricing but walked away from so many opportunities because they had concerns about being able to execute if ‘this and that’ happened.

This is where I come to the two quotes I would like to share as they both have to do with negotiations.

“You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” ~ Chester L. Karrass


“In a free society, after you are born, death is inevitable, everything else is negotiable.” – Unknown

Both of these quotes have served me well through the years and I have made much more money on many deals than I would have otherwise had I not heeded the truth in each.

Please understand that I am not suggesting you overburden your proposal with caveats and CYA clauses, rather as you work to get the prospect to buy from you, do not be afraid of possible ‘hiccups’ that can easily be covered in the way you present your proposal.

If you work from a contract, most will include all the ‘negotiable items’ but if you are a small business it is often your proposal that serves as the final agreement/document from which both parties work. As you are building new business make sure you include ways to make the deal happen as opposed to only seeing ways it won’t.


Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell [at] cmconl.com


About the Author

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc., An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in CRM, Business Development, Sales, Marketing as well as Executive Placement and Recruiting for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

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