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Mine Proposals for Hidden Gems of Opportunity By Kendra Lee


With the economy causing prospects and clients alike to clamp their wallets shut, we’re looking everywhere to fill our pipelines. One place you may not have examined recently is in your past proposals, yet they could be the quickest place to find new opportunities.

When I’m working with a prospect, I like to look further and deeper than the initial problem they see to get to all the potential issues creating it. Often the problem isn’t a simple one and the deeper I dig with questioning, the more I learn about how we can solve it.

My consultative approach results in a proposal that goes beyond one recommendation. It includes four, five, six suggestions or more on things they can do to address the challenge, complete with several options of how to get started.

It’s beefy and full of ideas they can choose to implement – or just think about for now.

And therein lies the opportunity for us in a tough economy!

If you’re writing a meaty proposal like I do, often your clients will choose to move forward with only a portion of what you recommended. They liked your ideas, but budget, resources, or timing limited their initial implementation.

They probably even told you they’d like to “wait and do the other things later.”

And, if you’re a savvy seller you pinned them down to dates of when they’d do the “other things.”

But busy as we are, and aware of how clients are looking to conserve spending, you may not have revisited those “other things.”

Now’s the time! You could have a goldmine of opportunity right on your hard drive!

Go back and revisit your proposals from the last twelve months. Look first at the suggestions they chose to invest in.
* How’s their implementation progressing?
* What progress have they made in solving the problems they chose to deal with first?
* Where do they still need help to eliminate those challenges? Do you smell an opportunity there?

Then, look at all those great recommendations you made but they elected to wait on. Here’s the goldmine just waiting for you to unearth it!
* Do the issues behind your suggestions still exist?
* Could they make a difference in your client’s profitability or cost cutting if fixed now?

Don’t wonder. Go find out!

Set up a review meeting to do a status check with your client.

I really like review meetings. These are your opportunity to check in on how you’re doing, reinforce the great work you’ve completed so far, and get your client’s agreement on value they’ve already experienced.

Dust off the proposal and use it as your guide in the meeting.

The best part is, your client will remember it well. Before making any decision in the first place you know he spent a great deal of time studying it. You reviewed the document in depth with him to be sure he did!

Use the proposal to revisit the issues you originally discovered and agreed upon before you started working together. Share the areas you think you can help take the results they’ve already experienced to even higher levels with some simple tweaks or additions.

Next, remind your client of the recommendations you’d made. Discuss those things they wanted to “wait and do later.”

As you talk, the pain of those yet unsolved issues will come roaring back. Your client may see the need to address them now, especially if it’ll help reduce costs, drive more revenue, or improve the productivity of an already overworked staff.

Get creative and show how you can help even within their tight budget. Your clients will appreciate the attention you’ve given their problems.

Before you know it, new opportunities will surface and your pipeline will be healthy again.
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Kendra Lee is author of “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, as well as subscribe to her newsletter visit www.klagroup.com or call +1 303.773.1285.

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-What are your thoughts on the ideas above. Do you have any other ideas you’d like to share on uncovering hidden opportunities to make more sales?