Excerpt from B.U.D. Better, Unique, & Desirable: The Sales Process That Gets Results.
Patrick and I have been working together strategically for quite some time. He is a marketing professional and I’m a sales coach so what we do complements each other. Naturally, we tend to rub off on one another, which I would chalk up to iron sharpening iron.
A valuable lesson Patrick learned at one of my training sessions was the value of using your proposal to your advantage to further build the relationship with your prospect and keep your foot in the door. Patrick had gotten into that song and dance with the prospect where he’d prepare a proposal and email it to the prospect and then try to follow up to get their attention and discuss. He was losing a lot of opportunities following this process as a lot of prospects fell into that black hole where you never heard from them again. I taught him to never email the proposal to the prospect and wait to hear back from them. Rather, you want to schedule a call or a meeting to go over the proposal with them. This ensures that you get back in front of them to keep moving the sales process forward.
Another thing Patrick learned in my training session is to refer to your proposal as a working document. For some reason, prospects see a proposal as final and when they know there is room for adaptation and changes, they are more open to what you have to share. In their mind, when they hear proposal, I think they relate it to contract, meaning it can’t be updated and it can’t be changed. By using the term working document, you are assuring them that you are working through solutions to determine what is best for their company, much more customer centric. Also, when
scheduling that appointment to review the proposal, I taught Patrick that if the customer is not willing to set that meeting with you to go over that information, you don’t move forward. You learn a lot about your relationship and where the customer is in the buying process by how they respond here. When they are ready to move to the next level of the sales process, they will schedule that appointment with you. Otherwise, you rule them out as a prospect or revisit the opportunity with them at a later time when it is more relevant and more of a priority for them.
These small nuggets saved Patrick time and money because he didn’t waste time working with prospects that were not serious about moving forward with him!