Using Your Proposal as a Sales Tool: 5 Tips for Agencies
In boxing gyms, you’ll hear all sorts of expressions: “He’s walking on his heels.” “Hits like a mule.” “Cut the ring.” “Hands up.” “Stay off the ropes.”
After a sparring session, you might hear this: “Don’t get greedy.” This last one also applies to your marketing agency.
Most agencies we speak with struggle to find new clients. Put another way, they struggle with sales. This article will explain how your business proposals can help solve this problem.
Your proposal is more than just a list of deliverables. It’s part of a process. Here is your strategy for using your proposals to win more business.
Addressing the Key Objection: Just Send Me A Quote
First, do no harm.
A proposal can also be a “false-objection.” In sales, the prospect will often push you off indirectly. When they abruptly ask for a quote, it could just be a way of getting off the phone. The rookie mistake is to spend time drafting a quote with an email and sending it. That’s a waste of your time. Instead, push back.
Say: “I’m happy to do that, but I don’t want to waste your time. Can you just let me know if you’re not interested in these services or maybe we can chat later?”
It’s not rude to ask this question. You’ll even find that more than likely they are interested. They’re just busy. In this case, don’t let them go without a follow-up.
Your quote is your opportunity to shorten your sales cycle. Agencies are busy with creative, business development, administrative work and worst of all…collections. Whether you’re waiting for a signed agreement to get started or a deposit, waiting on a proposal will slow everything.
An effective business proposal is your opportunity to shorten your sales cycle and get paid. Whether you tell them verbally, in the body of an email or in the proposal itself, let them know the lead-time. They need to know that they’re slowing their own results.
First, it’s good business to set expectations.
Second, it creates urgency. Instead of saying, “Did you get the quote?” You could lead with: “Before we can begin drafting your copy, setting up keywords and showing your ads on Google, we need your signed agreement/deposit. There’s about a three-week lead time before your ads can even show, so please get back to me on that proposal at your earliest convenience.”
Too often we fall into the “people-pleasing trap.” Rather than just telling the client how much harm they’re causing themselves and their business, we want to please them. Don’t.
Closing As A Favor
This is a strategy that’s great if you work for someone else at your agency.
You’ve built rapport with your prospect. They’re sold on your services. They have your proposal…but haven’t signed and your boss wants to know where it is. In this situation, your job title is irrelevant: You’re a sales rep.
Don’t hesitate to share this with your prospect. It’s honest and people like to help. “Hey, I know you’re busy, but my boss is asking for the paperwork. We’re onboarding three more clients and we don’t want you waiting. Can we get a signature today?”
Again, it’s true, and it usually works.
You’re Not Done: Pick Up the Phone
The proposal is part of a closing process. The phone and email work with it.
Always Be Following Up
GetPhound, a Pennsylvania-based agency, is client-centric in their proposals. They helped with this article and recommend offering small, medium and large packages so clients feel empowered to choose a tailored solution.
Also, don’t be afraid to follow up to earn their business.
The follow-up is the critical part. If you’re offering multiple packages or have multiple quotes, you can reach out to inquire about which option they’d prefer. Following up to answer any questions they have is very effective and also helps the client make a choice.
In this scenario, the proposal is your reason for another contact with the client and another chance to close. Let them hear your voice.
Don’t Get Greedy
Finally, don’t get greedy.
In boxing, fighters get greedy after they land one or two punches. They stay too long and keep swinging. Unfortunately, this gives their opponent a great opportunity to counter-punch.
In agency sales, sometimes you should start small. PPC is perfect for that. Offer to manage or build their paid search account. From there, you can upsell as you build rapport. Send multiple quotes, but don’t be discouraged if they decline the biggest one…
Remember: Your proposal is much more than a document. If used properly, it can lead to more transactions and more clients.