The Proposal Online Free

You've Submitted the Proposal, Now What?

Once you submit your proposal, there is more marketing to be done, more nurturing of the relationship, more showing what a pleasant and productive experience it would be to work with you.

Don't just sit back and wait. Be assertive. Let your prospects know you're available to answer any questions they have.

When you're marketing big-ticket creative services, your prospects may be interested, but they probably also have questions that need answers. Acknowledge their concerns and questions. Listen closely and repeat the questions back, answer them if you can or let the prospects know you'll get answers to them promptly.

Responding to "objections"?

There are a few statements that prospects use when they want to stall or aren't convinced you're the one for them. You won't always be able to work past this stage in the process, but if you back off without responding, you'll miss out on those opportunities that you can win, without knowing which ones they are. Be ready with a few ways to respond to these common "objections."

"We can't afford these prices."
Despite all your efforts to qualify your prospects upfront, you may still hear this from them. If money really is the issue, get into the specifics with them. Try breaking down the project into phases, each of which has a separate and lower price attached. This is sometimes perceived as less expensive, even though it's not. It's actually more like an a la carte menu for them to choose from. Another strategy is to revise your proposal such that it lowers the price. But avoid the temptation simply to lower your price without taking something away from what you're offering.

"We don't have the budget."
This is different from "We can't afford it." Ask what they mean by "no budget." No budget at all for this type of work? No budget left for this year? (If it's the latter, find out when the new budget starts or when budget planning will resume so you can get back in touch at that time.)

"We're staying with our current vendor."
Prospects may stay with their current resource because it's too much effort to start from scratch with someone else. Your job is to reinforce all the reasons why working with you would make their lives easier and be worth the effort to change. It may not happen this time around, but it's worth staying on their radars if you know they're itching to change.

Closing the sale.

Many designers sail through the proposal process only to lose a project because they don't know how to "close" a sale. Often, the only step missing is the last one: asking for the sale.

Try these strategies for closing the sale:

– Outline the next step. Say, "Have I answered all your questions? If so, and you're ready to make a decision, here's the next step in the process." Don't ever leave any doubt as to whether they have made the commitment. Ask them directly, "Are you ready to sign the contract?" or "Are you ready to schedule the first working meeting?"

– Make it easy. Do everything you can to make it easy for your prospects to take that next step. There should be an activity they do to make the leap from prospect to client, such as sign a contract, fill out a questionnaire, or pay an invoice-something to make the process official. This also helps engender trust and professionalism. Offer to send this document rather than waiting for them to ask for it.

– Give a deadline. People often need to be nudged before they take action, so it's up to you to create a sense of urgency. Put a deadline on the sales process, such as "This proposal is good until the end of this month" or "We have one slot left for this month, and I'd be happy to hold it for you if you decide by Friday." The sense of urgency could tip the scales in your direction. If not, it tells you there may be something holding up the process, and you need to find out what it is. You may have a bit more selling to do.

Offer an incentive. If you're sure all of your prospects' questions are answered, but they're still hesitating, try an incentive. People are so brainwashed by our consumer society that they sometimes don't buy unless they get something free. Don't resist this; go along with it. Offer a discount with a deadline, or a little something extra if they sign on before a specific date.

Finally, one caveat (and a couple of clichés): Don't count your chickens before they're hatched. Manage your expectations, and know that the deal is not sealed until the contract is signed and money has changed hands.

Three Techniques for Dealing With the Black Hole Syndrome.

Before you submit a proposal, you are in an ongoing dialog with your prospects, e-mailing back and forth, confirming details via instant message. Then, as soon as you submit the proposal, silence reigns and you never hear from them again.

People are so busy that they rarely take the time to let you know what happened with a project you didn't get. It's not courteous, and it's not professional, but it's becoming the norm. There may have been a shift in priorities, or they awarded the project to someone else. You may never find out what happened, and sometimes you have to accept that fact.

However, don't disappear into that black hole yourself. Stay in the game. Here are three ways to do just that:

1. Leave a final message. If it's clear that the project is not going to happen in the way and within the time frame you'd anticipated, don't just slink away. Put some closure to the process by leaving a final voice mail message along these lines: "I haven't heard from you, so I don't know what happened with the proposal we sent, but it looks like it's not going to happen within the time frame we discussed. So I just wanted to let you know that we're still interested in pursuing this if and when you are. I will touch base again in a month." Then send that same message via e-mail, so they have it in writing (and because they just may respond to this).

2. Check in to see how it's going. This is especially important if they did award the project to someone else. Let some time go by, then call to see how it's going. They may have chosen the low bidder and are paying for it now with low-quality work. If you happen to call and things aren't going well, you might be just the solution to their problems.

3. Stay in touch. Obviously, you shouldn't stalk your prospects, but you also mustn't drop out of sight. Let your marketing kick in by staying in touch via your e-mail newsletter or other ongoing tools.

What to do if you don't get the project.

You had high hopes. They seemed enthusiastic, but when you get the call (or more likely the e-mail message), you find out you weren't chosen. It's hard not to be disappointed. But the reality is that this is part of doing business.

Don't assume this project is the one and only opportunity you'll have to work with this prospect.

Think about this as your first proposal, the beginning of a relationship.

Follow up graciously. Thank them for the opportunity, and lay the groundwork for the future. Let them know you'll stay in touch and would welcome another chance to submit a proposal.

Ask instead what choice they made and why.

Learn what you can from the experience, and write down how you might do it differently next time. This will help solidify the experience and keep you moving forward towards your next proposal.

Available wherever books are sold. Sign up for their free tips at Benun & Peleg Top Marketing Mentor by self promotion guru, Ilise Benun, Marketing Mentor is a growing team of experts with extensive experience in marketing and self-promotion. We have done it all – for ourselves and on behalf of our clients – and we practice what we preach.The mission of Marketing Mentor is to help you get your marketing and self promotion on track so that your business can grow and you can succeed.

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