One of the main problems we hear about these days from businesses we speak with is that even after they have met with a prospect and submitted a proposal, they suddenly hit tumbleweed town. B2B sales stagnation.
- Calls not returned
- Emails unanswered
- Voicemails ignored
- “I’m sorry, she’s not available right now; can I get her to call you back?”
Try this simple to follow matrix in your first meeting. Divide your sheet of paper in your notebook into quarters and ask questions and fill in the answers in the appropriate quarters, ensuring that by the end of the meeting each you are satisfied that you have enough information in each.
For the sake of simplicity we will provide an example based upon our own experiences.
Why are you here? What issue do they have that is holding them back? Get them to be as specific as possible.
With impact it is essential that, although you may lead them in the right direction, it is THEY who come up with the financial figure that you should be aiming for. You really need a financial impact figure, so if their issue is, for instance, basket abandonment, get them to calculate the cost if they don’t already know. Pretty much every business issue has a financial impact; you need to discover it.
What results do they need to see for the Issue to be resolved so they can see the Impact on their business? It may be a % decrease in abandonment, an increase in news coverage, a decrease in staff turnover or whatever, but again, you need to get them to be very specific and get a focussed result. This is what you will be proving to them you can provide and will also be used to judge your performance once you are working with them.
What Process do you and they need to go through to get this signed off; are their other stakeholders you need to engage with or meet? Will you need to go through procurement and if so are there any known attributes (such as financials) they need you to have to get signed off? In other words, if you are a new agency with only two years trading results and accounts filed and procurement want to see at least five years, best to know now before wasting your time.
Now, when you follow up your proposal rather than leaving messages asking …
“I was wondering if you were going to proceed with our proposal?” which can sound rather desperate don’t you think? You can ask …
“Have you found a solution to that £5m per year issue with basket abandonment that we provide you with a solution for yet?”