How often do you face a stalled sale or wilted opportunity after you propose a solution?
This is a GIANT bummer because we know how hard it is to get a prospect’s attention. We hustle and grit it out to make the calls, emails, and connections payoff with conversations and meetings.
It’s frustrating when prospects “Ghost” you. We’ve talked before about the reasons Hot Prospects Give You the Silent Treatment and how to try to re-engage them but there is plenty you can do to PREVENT stalled opportunities too.
You can improve responses and conversions with these two steps:
Ask WHY. Red flags go up for me when a prospect asks for a proposal or solution too early. As sellers, we tend to get, “Happy Ears” when we hear these magic words and jump at the chance to offer up our solution and close a sale without considering WHY the prospect wants to a proposal or pricing – or WHY they’ve agreed to it without thorough due diligence.
- Are they asking so they can get you to stop talking or go away?
- Do they want leverage over their current vendor?
- Are they simply shopping for the lowest price?
Instead of jumping the gun, Pump the Brakes on the proposal and ask prospects, “What are you seeking to understand by having a proposal?” or, “How will this proposal help you move towards a decision?”Move through your due diligence like you would without the proposal request. Without knowing WHAT the criteria are for making a decision, WHO will be involved in the decision, and if there is a timeline, sense of urgency, or WHAT other solutions or vendors they’re considering – you’re operating in the dark and could be way off in your solution.
Push back to those happy ears that hear the word, “send me a proposal” and you’ll save time and heartache chasing buyers that don’t respond.
Ask for an “Upfront-Follow-Up” Agreement. You may have heard of something similar from the Sandler Training camp, called an “Upfront Contract” where you work towards an agreement with a prospect about what will happen in a meeting, how long the meeting will last, next steps, et cetera. This same transparent and equity-based approach is wildly effective with proposals.
When you get to the proposal conversation with a prospect, set up clear expectations BEFORE you create the proposal to again, save you time and heartache in the end.
Confirm that you understand what’s important to them –
- “In the proposal, what are the most important elements you’ll be looking for?”
- “Are there key items that will be important to anyone else?”
- “What’s the timeline and process for making a decision?”
And set expectations about follow up and THEIR response –
- “When can we review the proposal together?” (Don’t agree to simply send it over)
- “And when can we have a follow-up conversation to review your thoughts or decision?”
STICK TO YOUR GUNS! Don’t hand over a proposal without knowing exactly why the buyer is asking and how the follow-up process will play out.
This increases your conversion rate and decreases the amount of time you waste on proposals that will never close and prospects that never call you back.
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING!