Avoiding the ‘Big Black Hole’ of Business Proposals II

In Part 1 of Avoiding the ‘Big Black Hole’ of Business Proposals, I covered the first two steps that will help you receive a well-earned request for a proposal including what to do in the Pre-Proposal Stage and how to Structure Your Proposal.

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This week we will explore the final two steps to ensure a positive outcome – the Proposal Delivery and Closing Time.

Proposal Delivery

If at all possible, deliver your proposal “live”; either by phone or in person. You can use this additional touch point as an opportunity to remind the prospect what he/she said was most important to include. You can also ask if anything changed since the original request.

As you walk your prospect through the proposal, you will hear objections and can answer them on the spot. You can even make changes to your proposal, if needed.

At the end of your conversation, remember to ask, “What do you see are the best next steps?”and then set a date and time so these next steps happen. It’s completely alright if the next step is as simple as a 10-minute check-in call two weeks later. It will keep you “top of mind” and have your proposal moving through the sales process.

Closing Time

In my experience, closing a sale is the logical next step of business development well done. Sometimes at the moment of final decision, there can still be some lingering doubts or emotional reasons preventing the prospect from moving forward.

If you find yourself in this situation, you can ask, “What’s holding you back from making a decision?” Or, “During our initial meeting you said that X was important to you, if we don’t proceed together on this project, how will you solve this problem/challenge?”

Critical Step: After you ask one of these questions, BE QUIET!!!  Be Quiet!

The silence may last a long time and you may be tempted to fill the moment with chatter. Don’t! Give your prospect time to think and respond. I’ve experienced prospects who reversed a “Not now” to a “Yes, let’s get started” after I asked just one of these questions. Try it and see how well it works!

It’s not easy to get a sale these days. If you are skilled enough to get to the moment in the sales process where your prospect asks for a proposal, why not do everything humanly possible to be sure you close the sale?

The suggestions in my two blogs with steps for avoiding the ‘Big Black Hole’ of business proposals may take a tad longer than the time you’re currently spending on proposals. But, if I told you that one of our clients tripled his close ratio and closed higher margin and larger sales without the frustration of time-consuming follow up (which felt a lot like stalking) aren’t you be tempted to try them?

After all, your job is to help your prospects choose you! A good proposal strategically and deliberately leads the prospect to a “Yes” answer.

By simply following the techniques listed above, you will have more control over the sale, minimize the number of prospects who go “silent” and keep your proposals away from the ‘Big Black Hole’.

For more information contact us at Kopp Consulting.
 
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