There is no better software for creating quotes than Microsoft Excel. Yet the intricacies of Excel can be daunting for anyone not familiar with the program.
“It’s all about the presentation.”
It’s the simplest rule in Marketing. If you don’t “wow” your potential client, they’ll go somewhere else. And wowing the potential buyer has little to do with price.
In a study conducted in 2012, Business Weekly reported that “New research suggests that low prices can backfire for retailers since consumers sometimes see cheap prices as a sign of a cheap product.”
No, you wow your client with great value for money, unbeatable quality, and superior service. But how do you even get them to sit up and listen, to actually look at your proposal?
“New research suggests that low prices can backfire for retailers since consumers sometimes see cheap prices as a sign of a cheap product.”–Business Weekly
Too often we hear from clients that their in-house CRM or Accounting software–everything from Sage to massive SAP applications–simply doesn’t cut the grade when it comes to creating professional quotes which bring the deal home.
Either the proposal it creates looks “boring” or bland, or it simply isn’t customizable enough to make it look unique.
The other rule of Marketing: You have to stand out
Professional clients want value for money, not necessarily cheapness. To close the deal, you need to stand out from the competition with your proposal.
Your only choice is to spend hours upon hours putting together a quotation for that “One Big Client,” neglecting all the other quotes that are being demanded of you–quotes which themselves also need to be professionally done.
It’s the endless conundrum of running a successful, expanding business.
Creating an Excel Quoting Tool is the way to do it
We have been creating customized Excel solutions for over twenty years–everything from Day Trader Excel Tools to an Excel Payroll Tool to, yes, a sophisticated and easy-to-use Excel Quoting Tool. Nothing comes close, competitively, to what Excel can do for a business. It is a phenomenal product which only keeps getting better.
Like all “good software” out there, Excel’s true potential is only really seen when one knows how to use every part of it. And that task can be daunting.
Here at Eppert Consulting, we are constantly amazed to discover that even some accountants don’t know all of Excel’s potential tricks and tools.
An Excel Quoting Tool is the easiest thing in the world to create–if you know Excel. It can be done in only a matter of hours for a simple tool which would generate professional quotes in seconds. The quotes would be designed to your specifications, then exported to PDF or Microsoft Word.
Steps to create an Excel Quoting Tool
1. Make it easy to input data
Excel has inbuilt tools to prevent user error. The trick to fast and professional quoting in Excel is to make the user-input almost automatic.
You can lock cells so that users don’t mistakenly overwrite key formulas and values.
You can colour-code input sections–locked cells one colour (such as grey), input cells another colour (such as light green).
One spectacular feature of Excel is conditional formatting. It’s really quite difficult to overpraise this feature, especially in quoting tools. You can have a hidden sheet which compares this quote to older quotes or, say, to a median value. If you’re quoting too high or too low, the cell could suddenly turn red to warn you.
The goal is to think as little as possible when crunching the numbers, and reduce human error completely. The ideal scene is to type in your values, click a button and export to a gorgeous PDF which impresses the heck out of your potential buyer, and knocks over all of the competition
If you really want to get sophisticated, you could design a user-form to capture your data and insert it into an underlying sheet. But this is really getting advanced. (We can help you here, if you wish.)
2. Design a spectacular quote template
This is where you wow your potential client. The layout of this document needs to be visually appealing. It needs to catch the eye, direct it, impress.
It can all be done in Excel.
This is not the same sheet into which you input your values!
A lot of people make this mistake. Ideally, your input screen has no fancy bells and whistles. It contains boxes (cells) with easy-to-read labels, and clear instructions if necessary. It also contains conditional formatting and even built-in Data Validation to verify the data.
The input screen is the inner workings of the vehicle. The final quote, the PDF you receive after clicking the button called “Create Quote,” is the vehicle’s body. And you want that body to be a sports car.
3. Lastly, use VBA code to make it sing and dance
“VBA” stands for “Visual Basic for Applications.”
Visual Basic is a programming language built right into Excel, the “Application.” You can view this programming language in any Excel file by pressing Alt + F11 together on your keyboard.
This is an advanced subject, and it’s really what makes Excel stand out above all other similar tools out there.
You can do almost anything with Excel VBA.
For example, using VBA you could:
- Store all your past quotes in a database.
- Search for old quotes by client, date, cost, subject, etc., and import them into a new quote.
- Automate much of the number crunching.
- Have the code manipulate the final PDF’s look in tiny ways which aren’t possible with Excel alone.
- Import quoting details from external software such as Sage, Salesforce, or whatever software you are using in your company.
This is really where Eppert Consulting shines. I say that with no conceit or lack of humility. I say it merely as a fact. This is our forte: Creating Excel tools that go beyond the usual, beyond the norm, using Excel VBA coupled with Excel formulas and beautiful templates, which are a piece of cake to use.
Anyone can “Record a Macro,” but to transform Excel from a mere Volkswagen Beetle into an Audi RS7, you have to know how to program.
Still, even without VBA or a Macro, the simplicity of the steps is:
- Input the data in one sheet, replete with locked cells, conditional formatting, data validation and all the usual built-in Excel tools.
- Suck in the data using formulas into another presentation sheet which you can then save as a PDF.
If you’re looking for more advanced features, like VBA programming, you can give us a call or send us an email using the form below so we can help you.