Don’t Let Prospects Disappear With Your Proposal
How much does it hurt to see all the work you’ve put into a proposal go completely wasted?
It’s okay, we know. It hurts a lot.
But burning bridges and getting angry about it doesn’t help. What can help is changing your process for how you present your proposal.
Here’s the thing, prospects love to tell you, “just send it over and I’ll take a look at it.” And it’s easier for us to “just send it over.” You don’t have to push back, you don’t have to argue or confront any elephants in the room. You just get to send it on its merry way and hope for the best.
Don’t do it though. Don’t take the easy way out. Sending it out into the void and leaving that part of your process up to chance and hope sets you up for failure. Because there’s a chance that it will go to spam or the prospect deletes it, possibly accidentally, without even looking at it. Or there’s a chance that they’ve gotten busy and forgot about it, or that they have ten other proposals to look at and don’t remember whose is whose.
It’s hard to blame them for some of the things that can happen when you don’t hear back from them. You just hope that none of that occurs.
But there is something that can prevent almost all of these things.
Ask for Next Steps
If you’ve gotten your prospect to the proposal stage, then you’ve probably already had several conversations. And if you’ve done your job well, trust has been established, pains have been discussed, the two of you are qualified to work together, and most objections have been overcome.
So taking that extra step of presenting the proposal shouldn’t be too big of an ask.
Talk about the best way to present it to them. Ask for a phone call, meeting (in safer, less pandemic-y times), or a Zoom call. This allows you to present your proposal to them rather than just letting them look it over on their own. The important thing is to nail down when you can go over the proposal together in whatever way works best for them.
The benefits of this are huge, but the three biggest ones are:
- Nothing gets skipped over or misunderstood. This prevents problems further in the working relationship.
- You can address any questions or concerns they have right then.
- You won’t miss out on that window of opportunity where they are excited about moving forward.
Sometimes, people are resistant to this plan, usually because of time. They’re either worried that it would take too long to go over it, or they have other things going on (maybe even other proposals) and don’t feel comfortable setting a time.
- If it’s the first one, let them know that you don’t have to go over it line by line. You just want to make sure that you hit the big stuff, and that you’re available to answer any questions or concerns they have.
- If it’s the second one, you might have to push a little harder. Ask if they can look at the calendar right then. If the proposal is finished, ask if you can go over it immediately. The important thing is that they understand that, although their time is very important, so is yours. It’s to both of your benefit that the proposal is looked at together.
Present Your Proposal
You put a lot of time and effort into building a proposal for your prospect. But no matter how much time you spent going through their pains, needs, and hopes for collaboration, there will still be things in the proposal that they may have questions about or want to dispute.
When you present your proposal to your prospect, you’re further establishing yourself as a trusted resource and advisor during the sales process and beyond, depending on the industry and company. Where everybody else is just going to fax or email it, you’ll be there to guide the prospect through it.
This practice also cements the idea that this isn’t just about selling them something. It’s about collaboration and building a relationship. Looking at it together lets them continue to have a voice in the process.
Make sure that when you present it, you hit the important things that are specific to you. Everybody is going to have some of the same line items and legalese. So unless they ask about that, just make sure they know it’s there.
However, make sure they understand your process, your methods of communication, your timeline, and your expected results. These are the things that make you unique, and they are the things that can make or break the relationship.
When you remove the human element from the proposal, you’re taking away the encouragement that you’ve built around allowing them to ask questions and voice their concerns. This might not apply to everybody, but it’s certainly true for some people.
On top of all that, you don’t want to waste your own time by having these conversations, building this relationship, and then writing a proposal just to send it out into space with the hope that they’ll call you.
Set next steps, present your proposal, and then follow up with them.
Otherwise, your time and effort sits in their inbox —or worse, goes straight to trash— and they continue sitting in your CRM for forever.