As we head toward the end of 2011, I’ve been starting to review my sales results for the year, the clients that I’ve won, the ones that I’ve lost and the prospects that are in limbo. It’s this last category, “limbo,” that causes me quite a bit of angst, because I simply don’t understand why it has to be.
Let me clarify: The prospects who are in limbo (a.k.a. unresponsive) are folks who I have met with and who asked me to submit a proposal for services at the conclusion of the meeting. (Key into those all-important words please: They asked me to submit a written proposal as a follow-up to the meeting.)
Now, please understand that I am particularly rigorous in my screening and qualifying of potential clients. I want to make certain that there is a good fit between the services that I provide and their requirements. In the past, I’ve been known to turn down a proposal request. I don’t think that it is worth anyone’s time to propose something that you know you can’t do well.
And maybe that’s why I am particularly flummoxed by the prospects in my sales funnel who are MIA. Of course, I’ve attempted to follow up and have used all sorts of methods to get back in touch. My voice mail messages are compelling; my emails are well positioned. And still, nothing.
Why is that?
Are these folks feeling shy because they asked for a proposal for services but knew they didn’t have the budget? (I always inquire about budget before submitting a plan.)