Tired of writing proposals for prospects that disappear? Read on to discover…
Recently I was working with a client who was lamenting the number of proposals that she writes that then end up going nowhere. My client reported that she can spend up to a day or more putting a proposal together. She then sends that proposal off to the prospective customer and either is never able to speak with that prospect again or if and when she does reach the prospect is told that they’ve chosen another firm. How frustrating!
While proposal writing may be an important element of the sales process there’s no point in writing proposals that go nowhere. Here are 4 steps to follow to ensure that more of your proposals will close.
- Make sure that you’re speaking with a qualified prospect. Do your homework, target well and make sure to ask all the relevant questions to ensure that this is a real opportunity. This is where many sales professionals get stuck, mistaking someone that will talk to them for a real opportunity.
- Always get agreement from your prospect on the value of your offering and if you can quantify that by a dollar amount, you’ll be even better off. Make sure that they have the budget for your offering and that you know who all the decision-makers are. Ideally you should have conversations with those decision-makers. Ask your prospect who else they are speaking with (i.e., your competition) and how they will make the decision.
- When you send that proposal call it an “Outline of our Agreement” or a “Confirmation of our Discussion.” The word, ‘proposal’ suggests there will be more back and forth and that you do not have an agreement. If you proceed as outlined above in Steps 1 and 2, you can actually reach an agreement before you write that proposal.
- Set up the next step. The next step could be another appointment with the prospect or others in the company or perhaps the next step is simply that the prospect will make a decision. If the next step is that the prospect is going to make a decision, set up an appointment to discuss their decision. Whatever that next step is, gain agreement and schedule it. A prospect that does not agree to a next step and/or will not commit to a next step is not a great prospect.
By following the steps outlined above you should find yourself writing fewer proposals and closing more of the ones that you do write.