- THE MAGAZINE
Good morning Steve,
I’m struggling a bit with my commercial proposals. (Or “bids” if you prefer.) I usually try to set an appointment where the client has the option to accept, modify or decline the proposal. Sometimes, for whatever reason, I just deliver a proposal with the hope of my commercial prospect calling later for an appointment.
Either way, my question: What do you do with the proposals you have not heard back from in say… two weeks? Let a ‘dead dog rot?’ Call and inquire?
I always assumed I didn't get called back because I was too expensive. If that's the case, so it is. But it bothers me leaving my proposals out there pending and up in the air.
So should I follow up on my commercial bids and, if so, how and when?
-Floundering in Florida
Look at it this way, Floundering. You've already made the big investment in an on-site inspection and have already worked up the proposal. So why not invest a little more effort in a quick phone call to the decision maker?
Sure, we always tend to think the worst! Some would call this being paranoid, but not me - I just say you are normal!
And true - sometimes all your fears will have been justified. Yep, they will tell you they went with someone else! But every so often (more often than you might think!) your commercial prospect simply hasn’t gotten around to making a decision on your services. If so, great! Now when you check in you can push a little bit to make the commitment right then. Or they may have some questions, which I am sure you will be more than happy to answer!
At the very worst, you thank your contact for his or her time and ask them to let you know if the other (cheaper) guy doesn't work out. It is still a positive “moment of truth” that you took the time to follow up!
So here is the key: Never leave your prospect without determining your next action. In other words, you are going to “set the stage” by asking permission to contact them again instead of passively waiting on them. Here is the sequence…
When they say: “Let me think about it,” your immediate words to this postponing statement by your contact should be, “I understand.” (Even if you really don’t!) This “I understand” reply is highly effective because your prospect expects you to argue with them. But you don’t! Instead you find common ground by “understanding.”
Then after saying, “I understand” here is your next action statement to use: “Jim, I’m going to be off-the-radar for a few days and tough to call. So can I give you a call next Tuesday? Is morning or afternoon better for you?” Almost always they will say “sure” and give you their preferred time. So now you have both permission to call them and an exact date/time to do so!
What to do next? Well, duh! Give ‘em a call. As my mother used to say, “It never hurts to ask!”
P.S. Why don't we do more sales calls? It is because of fear of rejection. We all suffer from it, some more than others. Overcome this fear and you will prosper. How? By setting up a routine “dedicated sales morning” (DSM) where you solemnly promise yourself to make at least 15 to 20 new sales calls. I’ll send you the details on this DSM concept if you write me at stoburen@StrategiesForSuccess.com. (Just put the phrase “ICS DSM” in your email’s subject line.)
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