Hey all you sales pros, does this sound at all familiar? You’re conducting your latest sales proposal meeting with your prospective client – and it lasts a solid two hours. They’re completely engaged, they ask all sorts of questions, and at the end of the meeting you feel really good about how it went. You were told before the meeting that they won’t have a decision today, as they are meeting with other companies, too. The good news is that at the end of the meeting, they told you to follow up in a couple weeks.
No problem, in exactly two weeks from the day you held the proposal meeting, you call them at 9AM for an answer.
So you decide to send an email. No response from them again… so you send another one a few days later. Eventually you finally connect, and the prospect still has not made a decision. If this is happening to you or your colleagues, a situation where you feel like you’re chasing a prospect after delivering what seemed like an excellent sales proposal, it’s important to think about how you end each proposal meeting – and how this is influencing the results you are getting.
Years ago when I was taking a number of sales training classes, I learned some great techniques for overcoming certain challenges I was running into – one of which helped me overcome the challenge described above. The solution? I started to schedule each follow-up meeting at the end of the previous meeting. Sounds simple, right? Yet many sales reps are somewhat reluctant to firmly set a follow-up meeting, worried that they’ll come off as too pushy or inflexible.
Even if the prospect would tell me to just call them in a few weeks, I still scheduled an appointment in their calendar for the phone call. Why do we set up appointments throughout the entire sales process, but then we stop scheduling the next meeting after we deliver the proposal? Too often we settle for “just call me in a few weeks” or “we need a few weeks to review our options” and we let our prospects off the hook for the most important meeting – the yes/no decision.
The following tips will help you beat these obstacles so you can achieve different results! Now at times, you may still hear the same answer, such as “NO” or “we have not made a decision yet,” but at least you will get the news earlier and you do not have to spend time chasing – and you’ll be able to use your time in other more productive ways.
- When your sales proposal meeting starts, set expectations for the meeting.
- If they will not make a yes/no decision at the end of the meeting, let them know you will set up an appointment to do so at the end of the meeting.
- Get confirmation that your proposal covers exactly what they are looking for so they don’t come back to you in a few weeks asking for revisions.
- When you set the appointment for the yes/no decision meeting, find out if there is any reason why they will not be able to make a decision at that time.
- Send a calendar invite for the meeting to all parties involved in the decision-making process and make sure they accept!
When I started using this process on all my sales calls, not only did I save time in chasing prospects but I also closed more business. And who doesn’t want to close more business?!