Do you feel you are committed to a quote or a proposal you provided for a client? It’s important to understand that a quote is just an offer, and you can still refuse the client if it doesn’t feel like a good fit.
You put time and effort into providing your scope of service and fee structure so that it reflects what the client has requested you to deliver. And then you wait for a response. . . and wait and wait.
Then you follow up in 7 days, and again in 14 days (because, of course, you have a system to follow up EVERYTHING, right?).
But what you need to understand is that a quote is an offer. It is not a contract.
Is the client a good fit?
Instead of stressing out when a proposal goes unanswered, I encourage you to be grateful when a client does not respond to your quote or proposal immediately.
While they take their sweet time to decide, you can also use that time and any subsequent interactions to determine if the client is a good fit for you and your business.
Ask them if they have questions and then tune into those questions.
- Do they repeatedly try to negotiate your fee down? (one attempt is fine)
- Have they indicated (directly or indirectly) that they are a better judge of the estimation of your time and effort than you are?
- Have they said that if they had the time they would do the work themselves?
All of the above are red flags that the client may:
- Not be a good fit for you personally (#doingyourheadin) and professionally (#feelingyouhaveunderquoted)
- Not value your service
- Are simply not ready to invest in their business
What to do when the quote has already been sent
Remember – a quote is an offer, and that is all. You can withdraw your offer at any time before accepting payment or further instructions.
Because the quote or proposal is in writing – it’s best to withdraw in writing.
You can also say why you are withdrawing, for example:
- If you feel you have under quoted, say so. This usually happens when you realise the scope has changed. Perhaps you sent the quote and they came back to you with a few more things they want – sound familiar?
- You can state your fees are based on industry standards and therefore not negotiable (make sure they are based on research and industry standards!).
- Offer them a different option – i.e. group program or DIY options
- And of course, simply withdrawing your proposal is also fine.
Saying nothing at all is not recommended. That may result in you being possibly labelled as unreliable or unprofessional in your communications.
Value your service
It’s important that you don’t try to sell to those who undervalue or do not value your service at all.
On the other hand, if people just don’t understand your service or the value of your service, that’s actually a good thing! It is a perfect opportunity to educate and share your knowledge and expertise.
It’s important to be clear about why you have refused a client. Communicate your reason for withdrawal in a calm, considered, and genuine way. Remember that you are acting in the best interests of both yourself and your client.
Accepting work where you know, for sometimes intangible reasons, that the fit is not a good one never ends well for you or the client.
It is okay to say no and withdraw your quote or proposal when it doesn’t feel right.
Lawyer, Contract Specialist, Speaker & Advocate for Women in Business.
Drawing on more than 15 years’ experience as a lawyer and a woman in business, Shalini Nandan-Singh helps Australian service-based entrepreneurs protect their businesses and their bottom lines with empowered legal advice and contracts.
Encouraging listeners to #loveyourlegals, Shalini firmly believes that business legals should be an authentic extension of your business. Her goal is to educate audiences that, rather than confusing legalese, business legals should be an authentic extension of your business, creating positive business boundaries that support you in working with your clients with compassion and understanding.
Disclaimer: This blog is written to support business owners to consider legal requirements and issues that may arise in business. The information provided is for general and educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice for your individual circumstances. Please consult your lawyer for advice specific to you and your business.