So you just finished your polished managed services presentation in line with your marketing blueprint. Now your prospect has inquired about your pricing and asked for a proposal.
That should be music to the average computer consultant’s ears, but for many consultants it’s just the beginning of a long and protracted battle with the prospect to get the information needed for the proposal. Which raises the question, When is the best time to present a proposal to the client and how do you go about getting the information?
We have found an amazing variety of ideas about how many times to meet with a client and when and how to present the final proposal. Many of the ideas revolve about doing a network assessment or network audit. Some times this is attempted in the first meeting but usually that idea goes over with the prospect like a lead balloon. So the fall back position is to try to schedule a time in the future to do the network assessment.
“Bottom line, Never put off tomorrow what you can do today!”
The problem with this routine or marketing process is that it creates unintentional hurdles to the sales process that often could be avoided. The first area crops up when the computer consultant ask for the needed information about the number of servers or gig storage size etc… Many times the clients don’t know the exact information off the top of their head and really aren’t jumping for joy for a new ‘task’. Just like you they have a heap of ‘tasks’ waiting for them already and your request will just get added to the bottom of the pile. Then if you try to set up another meeting to do a network assessment without even giving them any pricing info to go on wouldn’t meet with much success either.
Often pricing was the lure your telemarketing rep dangled in front of the prospect to lure them into the first meeting. Once they sit for 20 min listening to the pitch and then realize they are still not getting any pricing info yet. In most cases you’re going to lose their interest and have a difficult time getting the second meeting for the network assessment set up. Bottom line you will end up blowing a marketing opportunity!
What is the solution to this managed services marketing quagmire? First it’s much easier to get the prospect to give out a rough idea of the information needed to generate a proposal – in fact when you ask just to get a rough idea or a best guess they often well go ahead and take the couple of minutes needed to verify the exact data. You can pitch it this way, ” If you can give us a rough idea then we can calculate a fairly close cost estimate and of course if that interest you then we can make sure we have exact info in a network assessment before we go forward.” As we said in most cases the client really want to get the exact number now and goes ahead to collect the info needed on the spot.
Of course this raises the next question – when is the best time to generate the proposal? The answer is that it best to do so in the First meeting. You have just gone over the benefits with the prospect and they are fresh in their minds. If you have a price advantage then those will be associated with the advantages fresh in their minds to build sales momentum. You would have taken a short cut that often lead to lost opportunities when you trying to set up those follow up meetings.
Finally, the second meeting should be a final proposal meeting that perhaps would involve a network assessment but we believe the best marketing process would be to simply have it be a closing meeting. Going over any questions the client has before moving forward and making sure they understand all the value. We have seen the best results from our client that do the network assessment after the contract has been signed – of course the agreement must have a caveat that any material differences from what was in the proposal could cause the price to increase or call the contract to be canceled! That protects you from getting stuck with and ‘broken’ network that just going to be a liability to support.
Streamlining your sales cycle in this manner will lead to more closed opportunities and a much shorter closing sales cycle!
John Black is the Marketing Director at MSP Telemarketing and has over 10 years experience marketing for IT providers and var marketing to help them get more IT sales