Here is the typical game of E-PONG
- You’ve researched, found your decision maker and sharpened your sales angle to win the business.
- You make a call. The decision maker is pleased to hear from you, but he/she is busy, they ask you to put your proposal in writing and send it to them for review….VIA E-MAIL (one week)
- You send your proposal VIA E-MAIL
- The decision maker responds that he/she has received your proposal and will review in due course VIA E-MAIL (two weeks)
- You follow up in a couple of weeks after hearing nothing back VIA E-MAIL (four weeks)
- Your decision maker is busy and distracted by the day to day running of a business, they take 4 days to respond to your e-mail, and reply that they are apologetic but will get back to you shortly with a decision after they chat to the relevant people VIA E-MAIL (five weeks)
- Based on the reply, you are inclined to give the decision maker another week before hassling them again for an answer
- You send another message to your decision maker asking if a decision has been made VIA E-MAIL (six weeks)
- Nothing is heard back, and doubts creep in as to the priority this proposal is being given
- You send one final e-mail stating that you are just “wrapping up the quarter” or “ticking things off your task list”, and asking whether any decision has been made once more VIA E-MAIL (seven weeks)
- You receive an e-mail 4 days later from your decision maker, thanking you for the hard work you put into the proposal, but unfortunately other priorities have arisen in the company, and they are unable to proceed with the business at this time VIA E-MAIL (eight weeks)
Eight weeks of E-PONG, with no result. All because you let the decision maker hide behind their E-WALL.
Customers are busy people. The easiest way for them to decipher and consider a sales proposal is in writing, sent via e-mail. In this way, they are in the box seat able to read and consider it. This can happen in their time, they can compare them to other written proposals, shift around the priority of the proposal dependant on their workload, and all of this without you being able to exert your power of influence.
Here are a few tips to “Break down the E-Wall”:
- Dictate the best method of communication – Is your client dictating how the communication will work through the process? Can you dictate how it should work?
- Map out your decision timeline – make sure the client knows your expectations of what’s going to happen in this sales process. Giving a client a deadline ensures they have something to aim for and won’t continually shift the decision because of other priorities
- Cast off dead wood – Backing yourself to stick to the decision timeline deadlines. How much time do you waste chasing business that will never happen? It takes nerves of steel but are you better off chasing a new client than someone who is only going to waste your time.
- Set a follow-up meeting at the time of your first call – “I’ll send through the proposal shortly, but first can we make a time to catch up and go through my proposal”. Nail them down whilst you have them on the line, and whilst their interest is still piqued.
- Leave something in the chamber – Without underselling your product or service, can you get their attention in the written proposal but leave some information out best presented face to face?
For more tips on getting in front of the client and winning for business, have Chris speak at your next conference.