Proposal Tracking Spreadsheet – A client is interested in what you offer. Contact him to understand how he can help you. It makes its presentation and the result of this, it remains to send a proposal. The process begins with the presentation of sales, then the agreement of the proposal, the sending of the same, the follow-up and finally the closing (with a no or a yes).
Presentation of sales
The closing of the sale does not begin when you send the proposal, it starts when you present your arguments and presents why it is the most appropriate solution for the client. Here the closing really begins, because it is at this moment where the client “buys” the seller, “buys” his company and “buys” the solution he offers. This initial “purchase” will have a very high influence on the promptness and interest with which the client will then respond (or not) to your proposal.
In a previous article he explained the points that must take into account to make an effective presentation of sales, so that the client is very clear why you are the best option. We tend to talk too much about what interests us, overlooking what the client is interested in. Among other things, it should include: what it offers that no one else offers (its differential), who it has worked with that are a reference for that client (success stories), and what is the expected result of working with your company (clarity in the deliverables). See in detail the questions a sales presentation should answer.
Ideally the client is interested in what you offer and how it is offered, so after this initial “purchase”, you will want a proposal to pass. For you as a salesperson, this means understanding very well what you are going to include in the proposal and discussing it before sending it to you.
Previous negotiation of the proposal
This is the most important point of the whole process. Must validate point by point with the client what will be included in the proposal before sending it, including the tentative price, if possible. What you are doing is filtering the proposal and adapting it to represent the client’s expectations as much as possible. In this way, what you will receive will not be a surprise (which is why you will not receive an answer). Many sellers prefer not to touch these issues with the client before designing the proposal for fear of receiving an objection. The point is that it will come sooner or later, avoiding it will not make it vanish; and better if you face it at this time because you have the option to explain and take advantage before the interest decreases or you lose a sense of urgency.
The closing is negotiated before sending the proposal. One reason why customers do not respond to proposals is because they were not what they were waiting for. They discarded it but they feel uncomfortable telling him no. The never giving an answer is a tacit “no” that avoids confrontation and a subsequent pressure from the seller to try to reverse the decision, something that the client wants to avoid if he is not interested.
After the presentation, agree with the client what you expect to be quoted, what should be included and what should not be included; and if possible, an idea of how much it can cost you. This will make the client know at once what he / she will be talking about and avoid surprises. You can do it through a phone call or, if possible, personally after the presentation (in case you have the necessary information to give an estimate at that time). The idea is to know in advance the client’s reaction to what they already know they are going to send, and not waiting for the proposal to start and the negotiation process, or even worse, not having the possibility of explain your arguments.
Proposal Tracking Spreadsheet
Design and submission / presentation of the proposal
If all (or most) of the topics were discussed with the client before designing their proposal, the design of the proposal will be quite simple. It will be simply put in writing the points spoken, adding information validation of the company, customers and other aspects generating trust (see the questions that a sales presentation should answer).
If you send the proposal by email, at the end of the mail ask the client to confirm the receipt of the same, just to be sure that it arrived. If the presentation of the proposal is face-to-face, define with the client at the end of the meeting a date in which you will contact him to follow up.
If the proposal is built with the points that have already been discussed with the client, it will leave less pending variables and, therefore, more likely that the client will give a prompt and positive response. Think of a proposal as a minute of the conclusions of a meeting.
Follow-up of the proposal
The objective of the follow-up is to obtain a response from the client regarding what you propose; know if there is something else that should explain, accompany or complement. Once again, if the points were built in conjunction with the client, the proposal should not be a surprise.
In our case, if once the proposal has been sent (assuming that it was sent by email, which is the most common), and having asked the client to confirm his receipt, we do not get any signs of life, we do two additional follow-ups.
A week later – We send an email in which we remind you of the subject in question, telling you that we would like to confirm the receipt of the proposal (in case you did not do it in the first shipment), or if there are any other concerns that we could help (in case you have confirmed receipt). Depending on the previous means you have contacted, this follow-up can be by telephone, by WhatsApp or depending on the closeness and type of relationship, including social networks (direct message on Facebook, for example).
Three weeks later – If the client still does not confirm receipt, we contacted him two weeks after the previous mail, just to be sure that the proposal did not reach the junk mail tray or something similar. That is why it is useful to follow up not only by email, but by other means to avoid risks in receiving mail. If after this second contact the client does not answer, we finish the process.
If indeed the client confirms the receipt of the initial proposal and unless he agrees otherwise (for example, that the client says he will contact him several months later), in most cases we do the follow-ups in the following three weeks. Obviously, if the client responds in the first follow-up, the process continues without the need for the second follow-up.
Our philosophy (and you do not have to share it), is that if the client has already confirmed the receipt of the proposal, we have made the corresponding follow-ups and even then there is no definition of any kind, we stop contacting him. If the client’s response is that the project was postponed or something similar, we schedule a follow-up between three and six months later. Customers, like all of us, have a lot of things to think about and resolve, all the time. Assume that the client has forgotten his proposal, what it was about and what its advantages were. Take advantage of each future contact to validate your speech and help the client remember.
No matter what the customer answers, be it a yes or a no, thank them. You may not be a customer today, but it could be tomorrow. Relations with customers not always (in fact almost never) begin with a sale. They start with a mutual knowledge and a generation of trust, which depending on the type of product or service, can take weeks, months or even years. This is only the first approach.
The client took the time to read his proposal or talk to you. They paid attention and they spent time, something scarce these days for anyone. It could have given you valuable information to improve your product / service, or ideas on how to improve future arguments.
- Present the correct information, answering all possible doubts. This is the first “purchase” that the client makes of the future proposal.
- Design the proposal, but before sending or presenting it, discuss it and deny it to the client.
- Send or present the proposal. Remember that the proposal is simply to put in writing what is already agreed with the client. The information included in the proposal should not come as a surprise.
- Follow up twice more.
- Close the process Whether with a yes or a no, thank the customer. You may not be a customer today, but you may be in the future.
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