Have you ever presented a proposal to a buyer and never gotten a response…one way or the other? Just like every other B2B salesperson, it’s likely you have. The old saying, “love me, hate me, just don’t be indifferent to me” is the way I think about these situations. Just tell me something! So, what are the best tactics to apply when you are in situation like this? This article provides 5 ways to follow up on sales proposals you’ve presented.
#1 – Set an expectation with the buyer
You’ve presented your proposal, handled objections and asked for the sale. They buyer responds “let me think about it” or “I need to talk to my partner about it”. Many buyers don’t like to make decisions on the spot or under pressure, so don’t be disappointed. However, you’ve done a lot of work and you deserve to know when and how the buyer will make a decision. So ask. Here are some good questions to ask that will help you set an expectation…
- “I can appreciate your wanting to think about this – when can I expect to hear back from you about a decision?”
- “I want to make sure you have all the information you need to make the right decision for you – what criteria will you apply to make a decision?”
Both these questions will help you get a commitment from the buyer, but don’t be shocked if that commitment isn’t ultimately met. When it isn’t met, apply some of the tactics described below.
#2 – Reinforce the value and benefits
There are reasons why your solution is valuable to the buyer. When you follow up for a decision focus on how it will benefit the buyer. Say something like…
“You mentioned in our previous meeting how important it was to get sales in the new year off to a positive start. How about we get back together and establish a plan for moving forward on the proposal to support your sales plan?”
#3 – Reference other successes
In the B2B selling space, buyers want to know that you understand their business. Sharing real world examples of how you have made a positive impact on like firms is a great way for buyers to gain credibility and confidence in your product/service. You might say something like
“I was thinking about the importance you place on increasing sales and it reminded me of the work we did with XYZ Company. In their case we implemented many of the things we are suggesting for you and were able to generate many qualified sales leads. Do you have a few minutes for me to explain how that worked for them?”
#4 – Enhance value through education
Buyers aren’t always in the buying mode, even if they’re entertaining a specific proposal you’ve provided to them. But, they are interested to some degree, or they wouldn’t have invested their time with you. So, how do you keep in touch with them without appearing to be a pest? You educate them with valuable information.
Occasionally sending or dropping off an article or report is always a good way to follow up. It shows you are interested and you want to add value to the buyer. You might say something like
“I was thinking about the solutions we’ve recommended to you and I came across this article (or report) that talks about business trends in the marketplace. Hope you get some benefit from it. By the way, what are your thoughts about the proposal I shared with you?”
#5 – It’s OK to say “no”
You’ve done your best job at following up and still no decision. It may be time to ask if the decision is “no”. You might say something like
“It has been a few weeks since I shared our recommendations with you. If you’ve decided to work with another firm, that’s ok. I’d rather know your decision than be left wondering. Please let me know if you have decided to work with someone else. If you haven’t, perhaps we should get back together to review how our plan will achieve your objectives.”
When following up with buyers it’s about adding value, not just poking around for a decision. The buyer may be interested and may have asked you to check back in with them. That’s great, but don’t be like every other average salesperson. Raise your game to the next level by providing value in every interaction with a buyer. Do this and you’ll get more “yes” decisions to your proposals.