The Client Letter
August 31, 2011
RE: Decision Time
Today, the focus is on one of the most aggravating parts of being a freelancer:
Getting Your Prospect to Make a Decision
I’m sure you’ve had it happen. You get the proposal together, you submit it… and then:
NOTHING but silence.
You call, you write, STILL nothing. No response.
More times than not, the silence speaks volumes. No deal. But can you really ever be sure? 🙂
Wouldn’t it be nice to just get a simple decision so you can move on?
Frankly, when this happens, it annoys the hell out of me. Mainly because I know I could have (should have) kept this situation from ever occurring.
So today’s issue is about how to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
If You Just Give Them the Ball, They Might NOT Give It Back
So how do you know that just because you give a prospect a proposal that you’re going to get a decision in return?
You think that’s the deal right?
Have you asked your prospect about that?
Believe it or not, the problem with an unresponsive prospect usually has little to do with your proposal.
The problem actually occurs much, much earlier in the selling process.
Not getting a response to your proposal is simply a symptom of the larger problem.
Here’s the problem:
You never had a real prospect to begin with. Because you didn’t make it clear to that prospect exactly what was expected of them.
And that needs to happen before you ever actually write words on the page. The REAL proposal happens while you are talking with your prospect face-to-face or on the phone.
The real proposal happens…
…while you are uncovering his pain
…while you are hearing HIS definition of a successful project (in dollars and cents)
…while you are making it clear your fees are not low, but your services ARE valuable
…while you are making it clear that you expect a timely decision-that you can accept a yes, or a no, but what you will not accept is a “maybe”
…while you make it clear exactly what he needs to do and when
The actual proposal you submit is nothing more than a summary of what the prospect has already agreed to. Pretty much the only thing he won’t know until he reads the proposal is the fee information.
How Easily We Forget
If I told you just how many times I’ve repeated this same mistake over and over, you’d probably fall off your chair laughing.
But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer the same fate. 🙂
As a professional service provider, giving your prospect a deadline or some sort of expectation regarding response is pretty much direct marketing 101, right?
So why is it so hard to remember that when it’s YOUR prospect?
Because when it’s YOUR prospect, you’ve got a partner to deal with. Your “partner” is your emotions.
Emotions mess up a lot of things.
Emotions say you NEED the money.
Emotions tell you that you MUST get the business.
Over the past few years, my emotions have been responsible for botching more deals than just about anything else.
So it’s best to deal with them as quickly as possible.
It’s Not About the Business, It’s About the Decision
Once you get your emotions out of the way, you’ll realize that all you really need from a prospect is a decision in a timely manner.
Who cares if it’s yes or no? If your lead generation systems are working, there WILL be other prospects.
So next time you’re on the phone with a prospect, make sure you get clear on exactly what is going to happen once you submit that proposal.
You do that simply by asking for small commitments from your prospect as you go along.
You can say something like:
“Mr. Prospect, I’m happy to prepare a proposal for you and get it to you within 24 hours. There’s just one thing… I always put an expiration date on my proposals. Not so much because I won’t be available after that time, but mainly so that we can decide whether or not to move forward in a timely manner.”
“If this is not a good fit, I’m sure we’d both like to know as soon as possible. So once you receive the proposal, will 4 days be enough to go through the information, get your questions answered and make your decision? Do you see any reason why you would not be able to work within that schedule?”
Try this next time. It’ll keep you moving forward and help stop time wasters from driving you crazy.
See you tomorrow,
Creating Success for Independent Professionals
P.S. The September issue of the Silk Report goes in the mail in just a few days. I just got done reviewing the final draft and I have to say, it rocks!
Here’s the title:
How to Get an “Impossible Advantage” Over the Top Dogs in Your Industry So Fee-Paying Clients Have No Logical Choice But to Hire You
If you’re looking for ways to set yourself apart from all of your competition.
The September issue reveals a simple system used by one Alex M. to attract clients. You get step by step instructions along with samples to show you how to do it.
From the letter…
“Alex’s method” does not require you to have a lead-capture website, it doesn’t require you to have a lead product, you don’ t have to ping-pong around the world on the speaking circuit, you don’t need to JV with the “big dogs” in your market, you don’t have to have a huge marketing budget (in fact you don’ t need any operating capital at all), you don’t have to be an already established brand or have “celebrity” name appeal (the strategy works just as well if you are a complete unknown to your potential clients and contemporaries) and, you don’ t need to come up with or market any new-fangled technology or innovation.
It’s an alternative to the old standard (slow way) of getting on the radar of potential fee-paying clients by publishing, positioning and pitching.
This is a NEW way that you won’t want to miss. And you could adapt this for a wide range of businesses. Does that sound like something you’d be interested in learning?
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The price goes up again on Thursday…