In sales management, the journey from sending a proposal to receiving valuable feedback can be a nerve-wracking experience. Too often, sales professionals find themselves in a frustrating cycle of sending proposals via email and struggling to extract meaningful responses from their prospects. The pressure intensifies as follow-up messages become increasingly desperate, filled with requests for feedback. The question arises: what can be done differently to enhance the chances of obtaining constructive feedback and maintaining a positive sales relationship?
The pitfall of emailing proposals
Emailing a proposal might seem like a straightforward step, but it can quickly become a stumbling block if not approached strategically. The lack of interaction and the impersonal nature of email can lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations and a dearth of valuable feedback. The prospect may be left with unanswered questions or uncertainties, creating a sense that something has gone awry.
The strategic shift: Proposing an interactive discussion
A crucial tactic to adopt when faced with the prospect’s request to email the proposal is to suggest a more interactive approach. Instead of simply dispatching the proposal into the digital void, propose a presentation either in person or virtually. This allows for a comprehensive walkthrough of the proposal, giving you the opportunity to address any queries or concerns on the spot. Moreover, it sets the stage for immediate feedback from the prospect at the conclusion of the presentation.
A practical alternative: Scheduled feedback session
In cases where an in-person or virtual presentation is not feasible, a structured alternative can be employed to ensure a timely and focused feedback session. The trick is to set it up in such a manner that as much ambiguity as possible is eliminated in the process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Confirm decision timing
Upon the prospect’s request for an emailed proposal, take the initiative to confirm the time within which they will be making a decision.
2. Schedule a feedback call
Ask the prospects about their availability for a feedback call on the day of the decision. Seek a time that is convenient for them to discuss your proposal in detail.
3. Email a calendar invitation
Once a suitable time is agreed upon, send a calendar invitation with a clear subject line: ‘Call for your feedback on the [company] proposal.’ This not only serves as a gentle reminder but also adds a sense of formality to the feedback process. People tend to respect your time a lot more when you make professional arrangements with them.
By implementing this approach, you not only establish a commitment from the prospect regarding the feedback timeline but also ensure that a specific time is allocated for the discussion. This proactive stance prevents you from falling into the trap of incessant follow-ups and becoming a sales stalker and allows you to make the most out of a less than ideal situation.
Elevating the proposal experience
In sales management, the manner in which proposals are delivered plays a pivotal role in shaping the outcome. Rather than succumbing to the easy route of emailing proposals and hoping for the best, strategically steering towards interactive presentations or scheduled feedback sessions can significantly enhance the feedback process. It not only demonstrates your commitment to a collaborative engagement but also sets the stage for a more informed and constructive discussion. By implementing these strategies, sales professionals can transform the proposal delivery phase into an opportunity for meaningful dialogue, ensuring that feedback is not just obtained but is also valuable and insightful. It also applies structure to the entire process, in turn removing an angst-driven follow up.