A suspect calls you up without having spent much time with your online sales persona otherwise called your website and the conversation contained within it. The reasons why are probably numerous and might include;
Never the less they’re local so you go visit them without really qualifying whether there’s a real need for you to do so, or whether this could be done remotely first to at least determine if there is a fit. Once you’ve established some common ground you could then arrange a meeting to explore the details. Never the less, you go anyway.
You’ve now spent time with them now and they seem unusually focused on the details and reluctant to focus on goals and where they want to take this and why they want to do it, but you unwittingly take this as a sign they’re interested.
At the end, they ask for a proposal, yet something deep down tells you that they’ve not quite bought into your ideas and there is some resistance, even nervous avoidance of certain issues and commitments.
Guess what, you’re right, they’ve not bought into it yet (if ever), yet somehow you logically convince yourself that without a detailed proposal this suspect will never become a customer.
So, you go away and spend hours crafting the perfect proposal which will nail this deal once and for all.
You feel proud after sending it along to your suspect, only to find out that you never hear back.
Something went wrong.
Just because your in sales doesn’t mean that your time or expertise is worthless and should be spent pandering to every beck and call of suspects, prospects and customers. It needs to be give and take. When its all take from them and give from you, something isn’t right.
You’ve probably done a number of things at no cost already and yet still they ask for more.
Instead you need to challenge this, and quickly, before you waste a lot of time and effort on an opportunity you’ll just keep chasing.
Know this, customers are equally as good at avoiding the truth as suppliers are.
A summary, outline, or possible service / product package that gives an indication is a good way to test what’s going on.
Arrange for a free trial or something which pulls them closer to your product or services and you into their business without taking up too much time and expense, and see how they react. If they push away it wasn’t real.
They’ll probably agree at first and then all of a sudden they’ll turn you down. Told you so. Sure, they’ll have a great excuse, a fix they arranged literally within days, or they never fix it and nonchalantly turn you away as if you have some kind of transmittable disease.
They’re just shopping, browsing, having a mooch with no real intention of buying. I wonder if….. ?
If you believe that you are somehow less important in this story then go ahead and write your proposal. But don’t complain when you don’t get the business until you’ve qualified the situation.
You see the less time you was with these people, the more time you have to find the right people and spend with the right people.
Just image how you would have felt having spent a day or two crafting your proposal masterpiece which was going to blow them away, when all they were doing was window shopping, which would mean never returning your calls, cancelling other meetings, dodging any next steps and all the other cherades.
Once you dig deeper into the psychology you realise that these individuals are not really all that serious. They led you to believe they were, but had no intention of committing to it even if it was the right thing to do.
Proposals are not for people who are “just browsing”. Give them something generic or ask for more commitment. If it doesn’t progress you just saved yourself a lot of time.
Proposals at this level offer a great deal of insight, analysis and strategy. Why would you give that away for free ?
Sure, even the likes of interiors decorators offer a free in-house consultation. Designer can come in and suggest colours and scheme’s but you wont get a proposal until you pay for it as it requires skill and expertise to craft such ideas. If you want them to complete the work, you also have to pay them for that also. Its the world of real business.
Instead have some outlines and packages that can illustrate it a little better for them. If their interest becomes serious, you can get them invested deeper into the level of value you can deliver to them. Again its give and take.
What you’re leading to is an ultimatum where you really get to see how serious these people are.
Proposals can be a waste of time, but only if you let it happen.