Materials from the toolbox
If you work in sales, you probably send anywhere from several to several dozen offers every week. Some of them take you literally one minute: you sit down, click a few buttons, CTRL C, CTRL V, and there you go - a new offer! But most offers require customization and, thus, time. As a result, instead of meeting clients and making sales, you spend long hours at your desk, devoting yourself to emails and specialised offers, though you don’t think they’ll amount to much. You send them and then you wait. You may sit there nervously pressing F5 key every few minutes, even checking your email right before going to sleep. And what if someone answers: ‘Mr. Woods, we have a green light from the board and we’re getting into it?’.
Sometimes, in fact, someone will answer, or sometimes you’ll get an automatic response from someone on holiday, but usually all is silent. A client who is supposedly very interested and asks for a quote ASAP may not even bother to write ‘thank you’ or even ‘thanks, but no thanks’. It just falls flat, and along with it the margin you were supposed to earn, and - even worse - all the time and resources you’ve spent on that client.
Why does this happen? Based on my many years of experience in sales, I can list at least five reasons why clients keep quiet after receiving an offer.
Work with brochures
Before you start preparing an offer, make sure that the person or company you’re going to send it to is, in fact, a customer. As salespeople, we often see dollar signs and blindly assume that everyone who calls us, sends an email or comes through our door is a potential customer who is not only interested in buying, but can also afford the purchase. Car dealers eagerly offer test drives to everyone who visits the showroom, often without even asking about their budget, and realtors will show anyone a million-dollar property, even if they don’t have a million to spend. And then everyone complains about everyone who’s ‘just looking’.
In terms of the Sandler Training methodology, a client is someone who has a ‘pain’, and therefore a strong motivation to buy, has the right budget to ‘heal’ their pain, and is a decision-maker in the entire purchasing process: they not only have the final say, but they also have defined criteria for the decision, and they know within what timeframe they want to or have to make such decision. Those who do not meet at least one condition (no pain, no budget or no decision-making power) cannot be - at least at this stage - qualified as a customer. They’re a prospect, and should be entered in the CRM with the note ‘update in X days’, and not on the short list for an offer ASAP.
Therefore, before you start preparing an offer, before you send anything to anyone, qualify the client (in person or by phone). Only if this turns out positively should you prepare and send an offer. Otherwise, you’re just shooting blanks: sometimes you hit something, but it’s mostly a waste of time.
Also, remember that clients who aren’t really clients are more likely to bury their heads in the sand. It’s hard for them to admit that they don’t have enough money, or that they’re not the ones who make the final decision, so they prefer not to answer messages or calls rather than come up with complicated explanations.