Learning Center Resource

What to Do if Leads Won’t Return Your Call/Emails After You Sent a Proposal?

Close The Deal With This Guide!

Don't let leads off the hook!

Are you having trouble closing the deal on leads even after the customer is interested in your product? Have you sent a proposal to a client only to never hear back from them?

While this is never a good sign, it is more common than you think. Without the right tools and guidelines, potential customers may shift from one supplier to another. You need “commitment & consistency” in your sales process.  You’ve got the fish on the hook, don’t throw the fish back into the sea! This means, don’t hang up with the lead until you have a set date/time that they committed to for a follow-up call. 

Establish Clear Next Steps

A sales rep may call a lead and establish a discovery call. They talk with a potential customer about the services they offer and identify pain points they may have solutions for. 

The lead tells you, “ok give me some time to review your proposal, send me some information via email and I’ll get back to you.”  

The sales rep says, “Sure! I’ll send you some information via email and follow up with you in a few days.” 

They both hang up, and the sales rep sends the proposal and waits for a couple of days. Then he tries calling again only to receive no answer after a couple of tries. Finally, after a couple of days of calling, the sales rep is able to get the customer back on the phone. As it turns out, the customer has already chosen another supplier.

Sound familiar?

If so, that’s because it happens for sales reps all the time! We know a better solution.

For starters, your sales team should always want to establish clear next steps. From the first time you call or send an email, you should try to get them to commit to a time and date to complete certain objectives. During each step, you should continually get them to commit to the next phase or towards another objective.

A chain of objectives may look like this:

  1. Lead Introduction Call 
  2. Discovery Call 
  3. Proposal 
  4. Follow-up.

At the end of each interaction, you can follow it up with a version of:

“How about I call you on [day of week] at [specific time] to move forward?”

For instance, after having a discovery call and going over the proposal you say something like:

“How long do you need to look over the proposal and get back to me?”

“3 days,” says the customer.

“Okay great!” says the sales rep, “That would be Thursday, does 2 pm or 3 pm CST work for you for a follow-up.”

You have a day, time, and expectation that action will be taken during this next meeting. 

You can even have a backup date in mind should they miss that date. In each phase, always strive for commitment and consistency at every point in the conversation. This becomes especially important when it comes to the proposal phase. 

Improving Your Proposal

Before getting to the follow-up phase, you may also want to work on how you pitch your proposal. 

First, you need to establish a call with them to walk through the proposal. This allows you to tailor the proposal to their specific pain points. We’ve also found that this eliminates confusion around proposals and establishes a good rapport between the buyer and supplier. It shows that you care and will take time for customers.

During this proposal, you can not only outline what your proposal is but share information regarding:

  • How your product or service solves the original problem they laid out to you in the discovery call. 
  • Insider terminology
  • Answer any questions the buyer may have
  • Explain how you differ from the competition
  • Mention success stories
  • Establish how you differ from the competition

A proposal meeting to pitch your services is critical to establishing the relationship necessary for a large business transaction. Then layout your clear next steps to get a commitment for a decision. 

You’ve Got a Commitment for a Decision, Now What?

So, you’ve got a commitment on when you can expect an answer. Does that mean that the customer will decide on that date? No, but it does give you another opportunity to have them commit to a time and date to talk to you again.

Also, just because a customer isn’t ready to make a decision doesn’t mean you can move the sales process forward. You can also ask questions such as:

“Is there anyone else you would like me to talk to?”

“What’s holding you back from making a decision?”

“Is there any information do you need from me to make a decision?”

These types of questions can help set fears at ease and let potential customers know that you do care.

If everything goes well, you will call them again and secure their business.

What if Everything Doesn’t Go Well? 

When it comes to running a business all sorts of things can happen. This may mean that a customer changes their mind or pushes back the timeline on their decision. However, don’t fret! These are perfect customers to start a nurture campaign with. Nurture campaigns are a combination of emails and phone calls to get customers back into the sales cycle. 

This doesn’t mean that you badger a customer. Rather, you continue to reach out periodically identifying the pain points they may be facing and how you can help them. Again, always try to get the customer committed to a time and date to talk with you. Sales cycles can be months long. On average, most B2B sales cycles take around 90 days to complete

While it is important to be one of the first voices they hear it also pays to be one of the most consistent voices they hear. Most customers need to hear about a product or service at least 7 times before they take action.

You want to be in the customer's mind even as you wait. You can do this by sending emails outlining your proposal and offering help if they have any questions or concerns. Make sure that you are offering value in these emails, whether that is by information or offering your time. Keep them short and simple.

Check out our email template for help on how to be straightforward in our article: Mistakes to Avoid When Selling to Sales Qualified Leads

Don’t give up on a lead. Nurture them till you are the best choice for their business.

Andony, B. (2021, October 5). 5 minutes or less: Risk and reward in lead response time. Vendasta Blog. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://www.vendasta.com/blog/lead-response-time/#longer

Ricochet360. (2018, December 10). Lead management statistics [infographic] " Ricochet360. Ricochet360. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://www.ricochet360.com/lead-management-infographic/

Burstein, D. (2016, January 7). Email marketing chart: Personalized subject lines. MarketingSherpa. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/chart/personal-subject-lines

Clay, R. (n.d.). Why you must follow up leads. Marketing Donut. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/sales/sales-techniques-and-negotiations/why-you-must-follow-up-leads#:~:text=FIVE!,up%20after%20two%20%22nos%22

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