Every service provider that puts out a proposal should follow up soon after submitting the proposal. But you would be surprised how many business owners I consult with don’t have a standard policy to do this. The sales people at my company is required to follow up via telephone and email until they connect with their prospects and get a “yes” or “no” from them for our lawn care services. The reasons for doing this should be obvious.
In some cases, the estimates that we furnish are very detailed and take time to create, so as professionals we have a vested financial interest in following up with our prospects. Also, consider the marketing and advertising dollars that we invest in generating leads.
You never know what happens after you provide prospects with your proposals until you get a response (verbal or email, although verbal is better). And, yes, you will get your share of “no” responses. But even when a prospect responds negatively, you can obtain valuable information that can help you make the next response a “yes.” Ask why the prospect turned down your proposal. This is a great opportunity to see how your pricing and service are perceived by prospects in your market. This kind of feedback is invaluable in refining and improving your company and your sales efforts.
Here are four ways to close more sales after giving a proposal:
1. Follow up: Always follow up with your sales prospects within 24 hours of providing them with estimates. I recommend using at least two different forms of communication such as the telephone and email. The example I used above about my wedding photographer serves as a cautionary lesson. Never assume anything until you verify with your prospects. Always verify they received your estimate before jumping to any conclusions.
2. Be persistent: Call until you get a “yes” or “no.” It doesn’t matter how many call attempts you make, persistence is the key to sales success. Remember, our customers lead busy lives, so call and email them until you get a response from them.
3. Ask why: Whether or not a prospect hires your company, always ask why. This information will tell you whether your pricing holds up in the market and what they liked or disliked about your sales presentation.
4. Mine your marketing data: Prospects you could not contact or those declining your proposal remain valuable leads weeks, months and even years after you provided the original estimates. Every couple of months my sales people pull “gave estimate” reports. They call and email these past prospects to follow up on their initial quotes. We have the data from these prospects—lawn size, estimate and other valuable information—stored in our database. The close rate is high on our “gave-estimate” calls, and they add up in quantity as time goes by.