4 Tips to Make Follow-up Calls a Success
You’ve done the research, written the proposal, and submitted it. Time to sit back and wait for a response. If they like it they’ll call you, right? Sadly, no. Even if you’ve written the perfect proposal, your work isn’t over. You need to follow up.
Research has shown that success rates for business proposals increase by 20% with even just one call. But making that call can be tough, especially for people who aren’t trained as marketers. The good news is you don’t have to be a marketer to think like one.
Here are 4 tips to make follow-up calls less stressful for you and more successful for your business.
1. Schedule the Call
This is an important strategy for those of us who dread calls so much we procrastinate. If it’s on the calendar, you’re committed and you can’t put it off. It’s also helpful for your client because it gives them an opportunity to have the proposal in front of them and questions ready.
When you submit your proposal, offer a date and a time for a call. You can write something like, “I suggest we set up a time to review the proposal in detail and determine next steps. How does Wednesday, the 18that 10:00am sound?” Set the date far enough in the future so that they have time to read the proposal thoroughly—one to two weeks depending on its length. Don’t forget to shoot them a quick reminder email the day before.
Make sure you have relevant documents and information handy, including a copy of the proposal. If you are using Qfactor for Land Surveyors, all your documents and research are already in one place so have it open on your computer. That will save you from shuffling around documents and searching for information.
If you are someone who is uncomfortable with phone calls, sketch out a script with your opening lines, telling your client who you are and reminding them what the proposal is for.
3. Be specific
Avoid using vague language like you want to “touch base” about the proposal. (Hint: “touching base” isn’t a real thing.) Instead lead off with, “Do you have any questions or concerns related to the proposal I can help you with?” Like any good conversation, you want to listen carefully to their answers and then ask clarifying questions. The call isn’t just about landing a proposal, it’s also about making sure you both understand what the project is and how it will proceed.
You can also brainstorm other open-ended questions to have on hand if the conversation stalls such as, “What did you think of our plan to also do XYZ or to incorporate XYZ?” Or “How do the deliverables line up with your expectations?”
Here’s the secret about these phone calls: They actually aren’t about selling yourself and your services. They are about having a conversation. The good news is it’s a conversation about what you are good at: land surveying. Don’t be afraid to get into the nitty gritty of the project. It will show them that you’ve put thought into it and know what your doing.
End with a next step. Suggest a date to check back in or offer to send additional information.
Finally, send a brief thank you email recapping any relevant information. Something like “Dear Josh, Thanks so much for making the time to speak with me about your campus mapping project. I look forward to speaking again on the 20th to go over additional questions.”
4. Keep Track
Don’t let the hard work you put into your proposal fall through the cracks. Make sure you have a system that tracks proposals so you know what you need to do to keep the proposal moving.
There are a variety of proposal tracking apps on the market. However, with Qfactor for Land Surveyors you don’t need to purchase and learn a separate system. It has a proposal tracking feature built-in so you can follow the proposal and see the status. That way you just might be inspired to nudge the proposal along instead of letting it sink to the bottom of a stack of papers.
When the proposal is (finally!) accepted, Qfactor converts it into a working project, saving you the time and hassle of manually inputting information.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fred Dyste is the CEO of BizWatt and the lead developer of its flagship software, Qfactor. Fred has over 30 years of experience working with startups and early stage companies. He also played on a championship water polo team in high school on California’s central coast. Have a question for Fred?