How to Follow Up on a Proposal without being Creepy

Do it with precision, class and minimal effort Written by Adam Hempenstall
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So you’ve spent hours on the thing, you triple check everything and finally you hit send.

And…

Nothing.

We’ve all been there. Now with your analytics you can at least tell if they’ve opened it and what they’ve looked at. It doesn’t change the fact that they haven’t replied to you but now the ball is in your court.

If someone opens and just looks at the price, you’ll follow up differently than if they opened it, printed it, forwarded it to everyone and read every page in detail. At least if you don’t get that job, you’ve lost it on merit (or lack of), not because someone has judged you on price alone.

So, if you open your analytics and see if they have just looked at your price and not looked at much else, here’s what I’d do.

I’d wait a day, then send them a case study about someone who has made money, saved money, gained leads or whatever and equate it back to your price being a good deal. You’re doing the business equivalent of a guy walking up to a hot girl, saying ‘Hi’ in a really awful way, muttering and stumbling over your words then when she walks off, confidently shouting “Hey wait! That was awful, I’m sorry. Come back!”.

This case study can be titled “How to increase profit with a simple money-saving trick” or some equally attention-grabbing headline but inside it is the story of one of your customers saving money with… Yep, you guessed it, the exact thing in their proposal.

Now, if your potential client opens your proposal and gives it a good read, maybe forwards it and opens it on a couple of occasions then you know they are considerably more interested.

You don’t need to be as aggressive but you do want to put more effort into this person. Here are some ideas:

Results in advance

A term coined by Frank Kern. This is the idea of giving someone the easiest to implement 20% of your product or service to demonstrate that you know your stuff. The idea is to get them thinking “Shit, if this is the stuff they’re giving away for free, how good must their paid stuff be?”

In some cases this is not possible at all. You can’t make someone 20% of a table.

If you are going to do some Pay Per Click marketing for someone then maybe setting up an ad for them, or setting up Google Analytics properly for them would be a great start. Do this free. Just explain you’d rather put more effort into companies like theirs than work on a volume basis. This logic isn’t super tight but it doesn’t matter. As long as it seems logical, you’re all good.

More case studies

These are amazing if they are framed as tips, or lessons. Don’t overcook it and keep them super relevant but they’re great to drop in to keep the conversation moving along.

I forgot to include the guarantee

If you’ve put effort into your guarantee and come up with something incredible then this will work amazingly well for triggering non-responses. A basic money back guarantee won’t work here but something that fits into that “Even if I lose, I still win” category is what you’re looking for.

When we built custom Business Automation Systems for companies, we would design all the screens with just a 10% deposit which was paid into escrow. We’d then go and demo the proposed system in their offices. If they felt that we hadn’t understood their business then we would go and as long as they emailed through that day, we would happily refund the money.

We were so confident, we’d do nearly a month’s work on the chance that they would continue.

No-one ever took us up on it in 5 years.

Introductions

This is one of the coolest ways of keeping in touch with someone. Email them introducing them to someone. Now ideally if you have a lead for them then that’s the best scenario but introducing them to someone like a media contact or anything that will help them is equally as effective.

Use your network. When everything else is stripped away, it’s the only thing you have.

Try to make your follow-up pure value. You really only want to be sending “We sent you a proposal, what’s going on with it?” type emails weeks or even months down the line. There’s plenty you can do before resorting to that.

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