How professional are your event proposals? Are you using paper contracts and Microsoft Word documents? Do you have to edit certain things in each contract, leaving room for grammatical errors, wasted time, or even legal woes (and double-booking, assuming these proposals don't directly tie into your inventory!)
Or, are you using software, but it just isn't serving you and your client adequately? Are you manually sending separate quotes, contracts, and invoices?
Clients have more options than ever to go elsewhere with faster, automated, and simpler processes. Your proposals need to not only be beautiful and photo-driven, but also very easy to read, sign, and pay for! Realize this is part of the client experience. How you deliver the quote, what you say, and when you tell them can either help or hurt your likelihood of closing the sale.
1) Photos sell. As an industry that eats with its eyes, an important detail is (multiple) photographs of each item. A professional photo shoot will deliver the very best results, but in a pinch you may consider also reaching out to the manufacturer or seller who you purchased from to see if they have an image they're willing to share. Your inventory is a core component to your business, so the ability to show the client what they're getting should not be overlooked.
2) Details are key! When you're doing a smaller event for a pretty straightforward client, you can get away with titles only. But for a professional planner, you want to include detailed descriptions, measurements, quantities, and costs. The description should use grammatically correct language and accurate descriptions of the items. You don't have to be afraid to use great marketing words to sell the product, but make sure you are honest. Better to underpromise and over deliver. Don't say it is pristine, if it isn't.
3) Layout paints a picture. Consider breaking out the contract by room, by theme, or other event-driven elements instead of simply "rental items" and "services". Try and think about how your client is imagining his/her experience. Is it "Cocktail Hour" "Mix and Mingle Networking Time" or even "Underwater Experience Room"?
4) Experience is everything. Clients these days expect to sign online and pay with a few clicks making the process less time-consuming and streamlined. If you're sending a document that requires someone to find a printer, a scanner, or...gasp...a fax machine?! Forget it. Too many steps= too hard for them to do what you want them to....PAY!
What Are You Saying In Your Proposals?
Aside from the details in the quote you send over, how are you addressing your clients? Are you casual, professional and formal, or somewhere in between? Are you grateful and upbeat?
1) Treat them like a business client. One recommendation is address them with "Dear" in front of their name, rather than just their first name. If you feel uncomfortable, you can opt for "Hi" or "Hello," but avoid things like "Hey"--might be too informal. A greeting also softens the introduction and adds a personal touch.
2) Avoid being too wordy. People no longer have the time, nor attention-span, to read long-winded emails, or messages.
3) Make instructions clear. With those short attention spans, asking clients to do additional work, including figuring out what they're meant to do, is asking for them to give up and jump ship. All you should ask for is approval, signature, and money.
4) Protect Yourself. Your contract terms and conditions should be clear and have headings. You should have protections in place without scaring off clients. It is important to be transparent about your policies especially on things like damages, costs, late fees, payment processing fees, deadlines to pay, the services and rental products they receive, and more. Have a lawyer review your documents!
Consistency is Key
Make sure that they way you speak to clients, the way you present your business, and the wording and language used in your website, and of course proposals, are consistent. If something is different on you website than your proposal it might look sloppy, or worse, untrue. A client may decide to choose an item based on something you promised in a description. This is material to their decision-making and although you might not realize it, they will. You also want to be consistent with your brand. This also comes into play with your proposals. Goodshuffle Pro allows you customize your colors on quotes you send out as well as include your logo. Get creative with the thumbnails of your services with artwork designed to fit your branding message.
Your event rental business needs software that will work in your favor and not against it. Enter Goodshuffle Pro. It is cutting-edge event rental software designed to automate and generate professional proposals for your clients.
Anna is a wife, mother of two brilliant little boys, and the lead designer and creator of Provenance Rentals, a boutique specialty rentals company in Gardena decorating for the romantic, unique, and chic client whether the event is corporate, or personal, all over Southern California.