How To Follow Up On A Proposal

Proposal

“Hey, did you have a chance to look at my proposal?”

When I was a young buck, one of my first tasks as a sales guy was to contact this large cabinet maker.

I was trying to sell them a $60,000 website package. And if I got the contract, I’d personally get a $9,000 bonus in my pocket.

It seems small now, but it was HUGE to me back then.

I hustled together a meeting with the VP of marketing for this cabinet maker.

Their VP of marketing was amazing. I loved this guy… he was like a nice-old mid-western grandpa. And he was wonderful to me. Let’s call him Mr. Cabinet.

In a job (cold calling) where 95% of the people I contact hated me, Mr. Cabinet was so damn refreshing!

He WANTED to talk.

He WANTED to hear my ideas.

He WANTED to do business with me.

And I sure as hell WANTED that $9,000 bonus!

So as the meeting went on, I was more and more convinced Mr. Cabinet was ready to sign the contracts.

 

In this post we cover:

  • The 3 questions you must ask in any sales call to avoid wasting time following up
  • The one technique to find out if your prospect is a decision maker
  • The common mistake most sales people make in proposals (I made this mistake for 5 years)

Back to Mr. Cabinet. He wanted our company to send a proposal, so we did. We spent a lot of time & money on it because we were so convinced this contract was in the bag.

The proposal went well!

Mr. Cabinet was smiling and shook my hand.

Proposal-heart

After one week of not hearing back, I sent an email to Mr. Cabinet explaining all the details.

Didn’t hear anything back.

Ok… no worries… I left a voicemail for him after a few days.

He emailed back a one-sentence email saying, “So sorry, I did get your email, but I haven’t had a chance to really look through it.”

Two months went by, and I kept contacting Mr. Cabinet and all I got was radio silence. I didn’t understand how the deal seemed like a sure thing… to complete radio silence.

To top off my rejection, the CEO of my company started blaming me for screwing up the deal!

broken

—– Ok… let’s pause —– What the hell happened here?

This was a classic case of a deal gone bad, and I’m going to show you exactly what went wrong with Mr. Cabinet:

Essentially I was doing free consulting.

You see, buyers are smart. They know you’ll do a bunch of free work for them, educate them on everything that’s important, how they should do it, what the timeline is…

They basically get EVERYTHING free from you.

So now they have your ideas, and can get one of their minions to do it for them.

All they have to do is show them the blueprint YOU gave them.

Essentially I did all the work and planning for Mr. Cabinet, allllll for free. Wonderful.

So what did I do wrong? Well there’s literally 50 things I did wrong here, but there’s three pieces of info I NEVER asked, that could’ve avoided this whole time-sucking process:

 

  • I never asked Mr. Cabinet if he had a budget for this project.
  • I never asked Mr. Cabinet if he was the decision maker.
  • I never asked Mr. Cabinet if he was the guy who would write the check.

So here’s the three of the 47 questions from our Breakthrough Sales Training. Ask these questions before investing time in a person like Mr.Cabinet.

3 Proven Follow-Up Email Templates

(source: freshspectrum.com)

I hate following up and I try to avoid it as much as possible. But when you do have to do it,  you might as well use an email that’s proven to work.

Recently, I was connected with Hubspot. And by connected I mean I cold emailed them.  

If you haven’t heard of Hubspot let me give you the highlights.

  • Inbound marketing and email platform with 10,000 customers in 65 countries
  • Raised $100.5 million from Google and Salesforce

Think of them like B2B landing pages and blogs on steroids.

One trip to Boston later and today they are going to share some of the best tactics they’ve found for email follow-up.

Additionally, you’re invited to our upcoming free webinar – How To Follow Up: Proven Strategies and Email Templates (More on that later)

Enter John Sherer from Signals by Hubspot


 

There’s nothing worse than when a person suddenly goes cold – they won’t get on a call and aren’t responding to emails.

Obviously you need to follow-up, but you can’t afford to lose them with below average email skills. Sending crappy emails won’t make them suddenly think, “Oh yes, I’ve been waiting for the day this salesman reaches out to me to buy their product!”

Below I deconstruct three terrible (yet surprisingly common) follow-up emails. I look at what’s wrong with the email and provide 3 email templates that have work for us.  

 

Terrible Follow-Up Email #1

 

What’s wrong with this email?

  • The first two sentences are fillers. Adding familiarity doesn’t come off as genuine. Show UNIQUE interest in the person you’re emailing.
  • The call-to-action at the end just asks for an update. If your objective is a meeting, request a meeting.

How do you fix this email?

Google Alerts really can be used as a great window into your prospects world. When I meet with a prospect I typically set up a Google Alert for my prospect’s “company name”, “competition”, and “industry keywords.” That way, Google can email me whenever new links on the web match that information. I use those triggers to customize my follow-up emails.

So instead of the email above — here’s what you should write.

Follow-Up Email Template #1

 

Here’s why this email works –

  • The email immediately opens with news about the prospect – very recent information on a competitor.
  • The second paragraph transitions the new announcement to how I can uniquely help them.
  • We have several more examples in the follow-up email webinar.

 

Terrible Follow-Up Email # 2

 

What’s wrong with this email?