At this past CEDIA in Denver, Portal launched optional items for proposals, in beta. Dealers often hear things like, “I'm not sure I want audio in this room yet. Can you put it in as an option?” Or, you'd like to present a larger TV as an option, or better speakers. Previously, you’d have to create a separate proposal in Portal, or put all the options into one single proposal which would artificially inflate the overall price total - and you really don't want to do that with a customer who loves to scroll down to the price as soon as they get the quote.
Optional items allows you to present up to three options in a room or area, and your customer can choose which one they want, from the Proposal. With Optional items, you can upsell your customer in a way that doesn’t feel "salesy". While Optional Items is in beta, the feature has to be enabled for your account, and it’s only available to dealers in the Pro plan or higher. Let our team know if you'd like to check it out.
In previous versions of Portal, in a room, there was a section for products, a section for custom items, and then a separate section for labor items. Recently we made custom and labor items independent so that you can move them around and place them in any order in an area. This was a requested feature, however, we also had to make this change in order to build Item Nesting.
You may have noticed that you can now drag items below other items to create packages:
This was a popular feature request in order to shorten proposals and to group small parts that customers don't need to focus on. More importantly, nesting lays the foundation towards automating the proposal building process. With nesting, we can start creating relationships between products on proposals, and we can use that to make attachment suggestions for you. For instance, if you add your favorite TV to a new proposal, we can auto suggest your favorite products that always go with that TV, like mount, wiring, and labor. This will help you build more accurate, profitable proposals.
Client Notes on Items
When you add products to a proposal, the description of the product defaults to the catalog description. You can also create a custom description for that product, for your account. But dealers also asked for the ability to make a special note on a product on a proposal. We added a Note field that is specific to that product on that proposal.
We recently created a sample proposal that uses some of the coolest features in Portal - like Optional items, Nested Items, and embedded videos. If you’d like us to put this sample proposal on your account, just let our team know in the chat.
We’ve been working on improving our Quickbooks Connector. Our very first Quickbooks integration pushed a lump sum total into Quickbooks as an invoice, but that was too limiting for most dealers. Our QuickBooks Connector now works with Enterprise and desktop versions of Quickbooks as well as Quickbooks Online, and allows you to push Proposals from Portal into Quickbooks as line item Estimates.
We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from dealers on our iOS app. There were some issues where the list of proposals was disappearing, some dealers were getting forced to log out inconveniently, and we didn’t have the ability to edit customer information. This week we pushed an update to resolve those nagging issues that made the iOS app frustrating to use. The new version is available now in the app store.
Coming Soon - Payments
We are currently working on a new feature that will allow you to collect a credit card payment from your customer right from the proposal, at really competitive rates. Eventually, we plan to also support ACH and bank transfers. We know how much of a pain it is to chase a deposit payment from a customer after you worked so hard to win the job. And there is no better time to collect the deposit than when they accept and sign the proposal, even if it’s in the middle of the night. With payments, you can not only wake up to a signed proposal, but also money coming in!