After emailing proposals clients often vanish with no feedback..how can I prevent this?
Lots of time clients seem interested in my promotional prodcuts over the phone tell me what will fill there needs I send the email for them to look over and then they are hiding from me...not even telling me what's wrong with it or any questions. How can I better get any type of response?
Just a comment.I hope this helps everyone-we are actually writing a proposal now so I have to keep it short. I too have had this happen as well as my business friends. In the analog world, a proposal would have been mailed or handed in person-yes a hand shake was all that sealed the deal.
In today's high speed instant communication world--people feel that they can get back to you anytime increasing the length of time between communications. As well as many other factors as you know.
The difficult part when wooing a possible client is to not seem like a stalker-right?
This is what we do know to increase the odds.
1. Answer any and all communications and inquires ASAP-set the tone for your relationship.
2. Use snail mail for thank yous even on the first inquiry-remember, frequency of quality communications increases the odds.
3. Become a super listener-I mean really try to parse out what pain your solution may solve for your client. Then listen for your possible clients speech words ( key words) to use them back in any proposal. ie: Some people say things like, "I hear you", or "I feel as if", use those examples in the proposal, write, " Listen to this, and " How does this feel to you. Plug into their particular communication channel.
4. Always have someone else read the proposal-any misspelled words or punctuation mistakes could spoil the deal.
5. Write a whitepaper and offer it for free to potential clients.
6. I know this may sound cliche but, would you do business with yourself? This made us rethink our strategy and our positions and has helped us grow when we thought that we were the "experts"
Good luck out there. Gerry Lamanski
There are some great bits of software available now where you can send proposals / quotes, then notifies you when they have received, opened etc. can automate the reminders for you to chase up etc. i have a couple of clients that use them, will find out the ones they use.
but if you want oldschool (and depending on deal size) you should always call them ahead of sending the proposal or try and book a face to face to review...
failing that... and don't take this the wrong way... but there maybe something about the approach or content you are sending.. have you looked at your competitiveness in the market place? if you are over priced (or premium if you prefer) you may sever the ties when they see the numbers?
Are you speaking to decision makers or budget owners?
What kind of solution are you selling and who to?
I never send anyone a proposal unless i know that they are serious and if I do this that we have time scheduled to go over it in fuller details- many companies will use your information to get better deals with your competitors Your industry is notorious for this.. It is the way business works.. Just keep more people in your pipeline.. that is the key.
I just found about this- I would also track the email that is sent- Just discovered this company and it actually tracks opens - up to 100 tracking for no cost :) I am an affiliate for them but it is well worth it. I have been able to follow up immediately after they open the email... that is great way to get them when they are are at their office or just looked at your information. http://www.yesware.com/download?refer=3lflx57q - works with Gmail and most others CRM systems if it has a BCC function- That is really awesome.. pass it on. Earn credits from each refferal.. I think this is brilliant. I think it can help us all.
Hi Marc, your question seemed a little vague about the actual sequence of events, so I would ask: "What are the frequently asked questions?" that you see as being interest in your products.
If you're getting asked the same questions over and over, it could be your website is not providing enough information. (E.g. the worst offence any business can make is not showing their prices. Doing so says one of two things: "I'm too small, weak and scared to show prices because competition is so tough or my supply prices fluctuate so much" or "If you have to ask - you can't afford it".)
By providing more information online you save yourself the time you waste dealing with illusory prospects.
If you're cold calling people who express interest and then vanish - then suck it up. You shouldn't be cold calling people AND expect them to be sociable.
On a more metaphysical level, "no feedback" is actually telling you something. :o)
Dear friend, this is not unusual, in fact is very usual. People sometimes avoid to say that not really interested, or maybe this is not their priority...if the service or good is their priority, than they asnwer you back....but the sales are not that..so you need for sure 'strategy' this is the point.
Consider your clients as a 'club' those that are potentials and those that are yet your clients. Than try to be familiar to them somehow, of course that means working in that. As long as they have yet show some interest in your products, you have to go ahead and keeping the communication...but that means again, Marketing strategy....
If you need services in this área, please feel free to contact us:
Have a nice day !
A thought: Set an "oral contract" with the client/potential client before you send the email. That oral contract goes something like, "I will be glad to get you the information you need. However, I would like your agreement that you will give me a definitive yes or no by date Y that my products and pricing fit your needs. And I want to let you know if am fine with a yes or a no, I just don't want to be left hanging. So, will you give me a definite yes or no by date Y? Great, may we set a time that day to talk?
Will this solve the problem a 100% of the time. No. Will some "buyers" back off when you ask for a commitment? Yes. However, they are probably not serious buyers. So, all in all, this technique will raise the chances of getting a response.
The short answer is this is one of those things over which you have no control. What you do have control over is 1) a clearly deigned marketing campaign that draws the right sort of clients to you (or which ensures you are reaching out to the right clients), 2) the quality of the proposal, which is thoughtfully developed with all the necessary client needs accounted for and 3) a defined limit as to how much time you are going to spend pursuing a losing proposition.
Marc, many potential customers "collect" proposals from multiple vendors for a comparative study before deciding which company to finally go with.
While proposals by themselves don't assure a sale, often a good proposal helps to win half the battle...but the timing of when to send the proposal is critical.
After all, a sale is made when a customer need is changed to a want, well, a want to buy from " you". To do this there needs to be continuity in personal engagement across the sales cycle
A proposal asked and proposal sent promptly closes a transaction without a predictable outcome.
Instead of "sending" details about your products, is it possible book time with customer to personally assist him to undersand your products?
Instead of "quickly" sending a proposal out, could a proposal be sent only at an advanced stage in the sales cycle?
After sending the proposal, can you book time with the prospect to personally take him through your proposal to highlight business benefits that will accrue if they bought your product?
Lastly is your proposal reaching the "MAN"? - A person with the Money; Authority and Need as Xerox corporation would say!
Just my two cents...
As well as Eneid's comments I'd also say do follow up with your clients - call them and ask if they've had a chance to read your e-mail, and then take it from there.
If they haven't read your e-mail, and they sound receptive, make an appointment for another follow-up call. You'll be able to tell the receptive ones who haven't had time, from the ones who are unfortunately not interested!
I hope that helps!
You can follow the advice and perhaps decrease "hiding" to an extent.
The fundamentals are people basically hate to say "No".
When a prospective buyer asks for info, you have the choice of responding/not responding.
After this, the prospective buyer is in the driver's seat..
If you e-mail and call multiple times and there is no response, move on.
It sounds to me like you haven't fully explored the projects with your potential customers. Spend more time on the sales process, make sure you are speaking with the decision maker, set an appointment to deliver the proposal and go over it with them. If there are any questions or issues you can resolve them immediately. Then most importantly ask for the sale. If they say I have to show it to someone for approval you know they are NOT the decision maker. If they try to stall you can ask them why and probe for additional roadblocks. You might want to try some sales training. like Sandler. it will help a lot with uncovering techniques. The proposal should only be sent when you are sure the sale is already made.
Marc...you've got a very sympathetic compadre in me. This is vicious condition across many services lines in the sales world. I have been premiums sales, litigation support sales, etc. I also see it in my own entrepreneurial endeavors. When what you describe happens once you can deal with it. Over time it can be a cancer, exasperating you making an already schizophrenic job that much harder. I can't figure out if it's always been that way or is it the challenging economic times we are in. Whatever, the new paradigm in business seems to suggest that clients are increasingly more detached and vendors are at the bottom of the totem pole. Getting back to us is optional at best. The last 2 years for me have been incredibly tumultuous for exactly this reason. I'm trying like hell to get out of sales. I know there are those out there who would say that this is the life you've chosen. You have to work through it. Things'll get better. A good salesman knows how to work around it. Whatever the platitude I no longer buy it. I'd love to see some one on the purchasing side chime to provide some intel.
I completely relate because I have had the same thing happen to before. I didn't know what to do about it, until I recently came across this article:
The recommendation is not to give away free information with the low hope that the client will hire you. Instead it's to do a project evaluation and charge for it because whether or not the client selects you, they still benefit. Part of writing a proposal is sharing your expertise. So, why do it for free, especially when clients can use it to bargain with a cheaper competitor?
At least this way, you'll eliminate the tire-kickers and price-shoppers so that you can focus on serious, paying clients.
Personally, I'd spend some time on the phone doing postmortems. When I believe I've lost a sale, I start each postmortem conversation with. "Hey, I know we've probably lost the sale, but can you spend a couple minutes of your time on the phone with me to help me make my product / service / company better? I really need some help, and your advice would be invaluable to me." Once the potential customer believes you are no longer pestering them about the potential sale, their demeanor changes and they suddenly start reappearing. People love to help / give advice. If the opportunity is still alive, the costomer will tell you. If the order is dead, you can ask why you lost the sale. Find out what product your potential customer actually bought - then find out why they chose that product. You can then create a sales argument / presentation that makes your product / service the clear choice for that customer type. And - more importantly, you can develop a relationship with your prospect. Just because this opportunity is dead, doesn't mean another is not coming down the pike. People "buy" from people they like. And the key word there is "buy." People LOVE to BUY stuff. They HATE to be SOLD stuff. If a potential customer doesn't know you or your company - they feel like they're being sold. Once they know you and your company - and you understand they're needs / wants - and you offer what they need / want - the transaction becomes "buy." Best of luck! S
I would say it doesn’t sound surprising that some prospects reject proposals saying nothing. I know many such examples.
In order to prevent I would propose the following sequence of actions:
1 – You say you have a clear understanding of your clients’ needs after previous negotiations. So just make sure your proposal clear states how your product will fulfill these needs and how it will help your clients. You also need to be sure that your proposal sets a clear value delivered within the price stated. And there should be some call to action or anything that motivates your clients to send a reply back.
2 – If you continue to experience silence instead of replies – follow Eneid’s and Emily’s advice regarding the follow up. Try to call to follow up and schedule a meeting to discuss your proposal in more details.
You should be reasonably persistent in your sales process, constantly monitor feedback and adjust your actions accordingly.
Marc - follow up! Make it a phone call to ascertain whether the client received your proposal, then ask them point blank what they thought of it! Then answer any objections with a reassurance that you will make whatever necessary modifications to your proposal in order to accommodate their needs.
First off ,don't offer to send them a proposal unless they are serious. I know that sounds trite, but you need to qualify the prospect(s)upfront before you even do a pitch of your products. Find out if there is budget, first and foremost, if they have no money then don't waste your time. Is this a need to have or a nice to have? If it's not a need to have, move on. Interest, budget and a defined timeline are key to a properly qualified oppty. Everyone is interested in saving time and money on promotional stuff, but if you don't know that last year they cut all budgeting for them because you didn't ask the question, then where do you go from there? Some people are professional tire kickers. So my advice is ask those questions, is this a budgeted project, do you have a show or campaign coming up where my stuff would help? Provided my stuff's quality, price and timely delivery works for you, when would you most likely move forward? Nail them down first, then show them what you have and then if they are still looking for the proposal then you send it. And lastly, by all means, don't expect a response off of an email, before you even send it over you call up and say. I have your proposal, do you have a few mins to review it with me? If they do, then send it over and start closing the deal. If they don't ask them when would be a good time to review and schedule a call to do so and don't shoot it over to them until you are on the phone with them. Good luck!
I have had the same experience and inevitably this will happen, though to mitigate the occurrences I have leveraged the information that I learned at a valuable sales training session. The emphasis is on qualifying potential clients before the proposal is sent or even created. They should understand the services, product, pricing, inclusions, exclusions, etc. up front so they don't get 'sticker shock' or have any other expectations that are not met in the proposal. Until you know they have the budget and resources required to successfully execute on your proposal it may not be worth your time to pursue. Good luck!
I'll assume that the clients/prospects you are emailing proposals to are geographically out of driving distance for you. Because if a prospect is within reasonable driving distance you should be scheduling a time to get with them in person to present your proposal.
First of all, have you difinitively uncoved a need/pain which requires a solution? if not status quo is your biggest competitor and will win 99% of the time. So I would make sure that the prospect is in the market for you product or service before you even prepare a proposal.
Secondly, if you know they are in the market for your service or product its best to have a brief telephone meeting with them to uncover pain points and needs - as well as buying criteria, who makes the final decision, and what is driving their motivation for change. Then set some timeline guides. For example, you uncovered a prospect. Completed a needs analysis via the phone, understand who and how a decision will be made and by what date.
The bottom line is this: if you set the table properly you can sit down, eat, and finish the dinner....meaning make sure during the First Meeting phone call you have uncovered what they are looking for and why, how this purchase will help their business, who will ultimately decide yes or no, and when they by what date they will have a decision. Then email the proposal. When doing so make sure they understand that you welcome questions or concerns they may have about your proposal and that there may be some wiggle room if need be.
Hi Marc, how is your sales process going since you last asked this question?
I agree with what others have said. Don't send over your proposal unless the client is serious in doing business with you. Your proposal is the most leverage you have at this point in conversation. It's your secret to how your promotional products can help them. Hope this helps!