Small businesses fail for lots of reasons.
Lack of sales ability
No deep dialogue with customers
And there are two silent killers of small business. Silent because they don’t show up on any financial statement. Do you know what they are?
- Giving too many proposals that aren’t won
- Employee turnover
We will discuss employee turnover another day.
As for giving all those proposals, this might help you.
We all love giving proposals. “They said to give ’em a quote! Woohoo!” It feels like there’s hope. There’s a chance. When in reality, the prospect only wants to feel good about what they currently pay for whatever it is you are selling. Or they want leverage so they can negotiate with their current supplier.
Before you get that far into it, use your qualifying questions. Before you drive across town, take that meeting, go measure, etc., get really clear on whether your solution is a good fit for their problem.
“Hey, I’d be happy to quote you a price/ discuss my hourly rate / set up that meeting. Before we do that, can I ask a couple of questions so I can be better prepared?
- Who are you currently using to ________ (what it is you do)
- What would you like to be done differently?
- Our services start around $_______ for something like that. Do you have a budget for that price range?”
You get the drift. And I know, you say sometimes you just want the meeting so you can show them how much better you are. So you can use your charm and wit like usual.
That’s fine. Change the questions to suite your services.
And remember to keep that scorecard showing how many meetings you are having/proposals you are writing VS how many of those translate into business. Something might be broken in your sales funnel.
Keep up the good work!