Please note, this post was originally published on my company’s website, which you can view here.
We let closers close, most of the time. We focus on the outbound sales process and setting cold but qualified appointments, but there’s a ton of improvement to be made when it comes to sending proposals. We’ve even written about the main reasons your proposal probably sucks in the past — so it’s needed we follow up and help companies understand how they can increase their close rate if they focus on the proposal process more.
How much would your business change if you could increase your sales close rate by 10%? Today, I want to take some time to discuss how we can close more deals by improving our proposal process. It’s a low-hanging fruit opportunity that most companies overlook, mostly because when they get to the proposal process they believe the “rest” is out of their control, or they believe they already “closed the deal.” When in reality, the proposal sits out there and never gets an answer. Shocked? Neither are we.
Let’s Breakdown Your Sales Proposal Numbers Real Quick
Let’s imagine you sent out 24 proposals last year. That’s an average of two proposals per month. Let’s assume your average proposal was worth $30,000 per year, which means you sent out $750,000 worth of potential revenue. Let’s say you have a decent hit close rate, and once you get to this process you close 50% of revenue, which is $375,000 worth of new business YOY. Not bad right?
What if I told you this simple strategy could increase your close rate by 10%, which would increase your annual revenue by $75,000? This isn’t just more revenue, it’s 10% more business which means new connections, potential new referrals, and ultimately, 10% new opportunity.
We get it, you’re probably a great closer, most people actually are great closers when it comes to selling their services or products. The problem isn’t YOU when it comes to closing more deals. The problem is the qualification of the prospect and the process you have outlined when it comes to your proposal process.
Over the last six years I’ve sent numerous proposals to qualified prospects. I have about a 60–70% close rate once we get to the proposal process. This wasn’t always the case though. My proposal close rate turned much higher once I implemented a few key things. It increased almost 10% in the last 24 months when we followed these strategies below.
Lets identify a few ways you can increase your sales close rate by 10%.
Below is a quick video talking about the importance of WHY you need to automate your sales process.
The Power of Timely Follow Up
The worst part of the proposal process is sending out a proposal after having a great meeting with a qualified prospect and then they vanish. Has this ever happened to you?
Here are a few questions we all struggle with as salespeople once a proposal is sent.
- How do we define timely follow up and know when the right time to reach back out to our prospect?
- How should we follow up with the person once we decide we need to?
- What areas should I address in my follow up without asking the typical question of “Hey Bob, what questions do you have in regards to my proposal?”
I won’t lie, sometimes I feel awkward once a proposal is sent. It’s mostly because I didn’t set the right expectation or timeline “post proposal” in the meetings leading up to the send. This happens, and this happens to all of us, which is why answering the questions above is so important.
So when should I follow up with my prospect once a proposal is sent?
Timely follow up is one of the most powerful tactics once a proposal is sent. We define it as knowing the exact right time to pick up the phone and call our prospect with specific questions regarding our proposal.
You should know when your prospect is most engaged with your proposal. You know this by implementing automated proposal tracking software. Having the power of these analytics is critical.
Knowing when your prospect opened the proposal, how much time they spent on your proposal and seeing their activity once on the proposal has allowed me to know the EXACT moment I need to pick up the phone and follow up.
How should we follow up with the prospect once we know it’s time?
This is a big missed-step by a lot of sales professionals. It’s very easy to send an email once you know it’s time to follow up. Trust me, I’m 100% guilty of this, too. Most of the time, when we “think it’s time to follow up”, it’s probably too late.
In my honest opinion, the best way to follow up with a prospect once a proposal is sent is to pick up the phone and call them. At this point, we’ve established a good relationship, which is how we got to where we’re at. It’s okay to pick up the phone and open up a more direct form of communication. Remember, it’s easy to ignore an email — it’s a little less easy to avoid phone calls when you have a relationship with someone.
What areas of the proposal should you focus on in your follow up?
Having an understanding of what our prospects were interested in once the proposal was sent is critical. Any great proposal software will allow you to see what parts of the proposal your prospect viewed the most and spent the most time on.
Knowing these analytics allows us right off the bat to understand what areas and topics we should address in our follow up to our client. It gives us the chance to ask the question before they do, which gives you a layer of credibility that can’t be denied.
Understanding Your Window of Opportunity
There’s a small window of opportunity once a proposal is sent, and most of the time we are fully at the buyer’s discretion. With that being said, it doesn’t mean we can’t be timely with our follow up, strategic with how we follow up, and ultimately, be of value once the proposal is sent.
It’s recommended not to go more than a week on ANY outstanding proposal. AgencyFlare backs this statistic and agrees that you should always be seeking direction towards a “yes” or “no” once the proposal is sent.
You have worked your ass off to get to this point of the sales process, don’t take it lightly and think you’ve ‘won the race’. Make sure you run through the finish line and complete the deal.
No Bullshit Monthly Outbound Sales Content
Sign up for our monthly outbound sales newsletter today. Here you will find true, actionable content that focuses on the best way sales professionals and companies can increase their cold lead-generation. If you’re involved in sales, this is the most simple and effective newsletter you can be on. We send out ONE email per month, packed with great sales content that’s meaningful for any sales professionals or business when it comes to cold outbound sales.