A reader writes: “I have a prospective contract that does not have a fully developed SOW (statement of work) for me to provide a quote. They want me to give them “a number” and we can work out details later. Any suggestions?”

Yes, buyer beware (or in your case seller beware!!!). How can you provide a solid quotation on a job that you (and the prospect) are not clear on as to what is to be performed? If he/she is simply collecting a price range that they can use to negotiate with their real vendor you need to be careful since it does not appear that they will be comparing “apples with apples.” For instance, if a competitor budgets in vacuuming once per week and you calculate five days per week, you are going to be higher. Who provides the consumable supplies such as toilet tissue, paper towels, hand soap, liners, etc.? Following are a couple of scenarios to consider:

1. If you read the prospect as being sincere but in need of assistance with developing a well thought out job specs list along with frequencies then offer to work with them in developing this based on your past experience. Become a consultant helping them solve a problem. One caution is to make sure they do not take your list and share it with your competition to beat down the price. Although there is always that risk, I grew tired of seeing my cleaning schedule shared with my name conveniently removed.

2. If you read the prospect as simply using you to acquire three or more quotations to satisfy requirements you probably need to spend your time elsewhere. The exception is that if you can get your foot in the door and develop a relationship with him/her based on quality and integrity you may have a chance.

Remember the old slogan: WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) applies and your prospect has different goals and needs that you do. Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net