Why You Should Not Rush Sending Proposals Until You Understand Clients's Requirement
A client calls you up, interviews you for 20-30 minutes and then wraps up the conversation by saying “Send me a proposal with all your cost details and time frame”. This is one of the most common response from prospects. I have been running a SEO company for last few years and one of my work responsibilities include gauging a prospects seriousness and converting them. From my experience and intuition, I am fairly able to predict whether the prospect will convert into a paying client or not. Yet, I don't allow the preconceived notion about the client affect my sincerity of tackling the client. Coz I don't want to ruin my chances of conversion due to a prejudiced approach yet I am ready for a negative result. Sometimes, I have been proved wrong too. Many times, I thought this client is just fishing around and did not take him so seriously but he converted in a long term paying client. You can't predict human psychology!!
When a client asks you to send a proposal you rush to send him an automatic proposal thinking that any of your competitor might win the race by sending proposal beforehand. But as I said earlier, sales is all about creating trust and delivering value. People tend to buy from those whom they trust. For developing trust you need to engage him in a conversation and show him you care about his business, goal, problem and then you can deliver a good solution. You need not be a large company but if you can create trust, you can certainly convert the lead.
So, if a client asks for proposal.Tell him he will need to wait until or unless you understand his requirement in details. To understand his requirement you can schedule a meeting or send him a detailed questionnaire. For an example, if a clients asks me to send a quote for web design services, I send him this form or if he ask quote for SEO Services, I send him this form. We have created the fields of these forms based on our experience. In early days, when someone used to ask for a quote for web design services, I used to send him a flat quote but they rarely converted. Later on, I used to ask for a reference site based on which we used to base our new design. Gradually, based on the issues we faced while executing the projects, I compiled a list of most important questions and made it a policy to send it every client who sought services from us. If you want to checkout those forms then you are most welcome.
I have already shared the forms for web design services and SEO services above.
If a client fills up theses lengthy questions forms. He must be serious otherwise no one would spend so much time with these dull forms.
Now since you have these detailed forms, you can analyze the issues, competitors etc and give a call to the client to explain the scenario and how will plan to tackle that. Besides, you can explain how It will help improve his bottom-line and how much can he can expect to benefit from his services.
Most of the times clients will be dying to start with you by now.
Now, you can send him a proposal and don't forget to schedule a meeting to explain the points in the proposal. And don't forget to make the quote available for limited time only so that he can take the decision asap as with time the effect of your words will diminish and your labor might fall into the vicious circle of procrastination. Best of luck!!
I was inspired to write my experience after reading this post. Mr Andrew Sobel, please accept my sincere gratitude and thanks.