Tutorials and resources for proposal writing and business development

How To Follow Up A Consulting Proposal

After submitting a proposal, many consultants wait a short period of time--maybe a few days or one week, before contacting the potential client. The purpose is to find out if the proposal has been accepted, rejected, or if modifications are necessary. Contacting the potential client once is professional and acceptable. However, if your phone call or email is not returned, you will be tempted to repeatedly contact the potential client for an answer.

Resist this temptation. Hounding the potential client for an answer does not improve the situation. Don't take it personally. After making your one inquiry about the proposal's status, forget about it and move on. Begin searching for the next potential client.

This practice of submit-follow up-move on defies conventional sales methodology where people are trained to continuously follow up with prospects in order to get sales. However, this method works for these reasons:

  1. You have no idea what has happened at the company and why your proposal hasn't yet been accepted. Perhaps the entire project got cancelled? Maybe quarterly earnings were disappointing and a layoff is now in the works? The possibilities are endless and constant speculation for an answer can drive you crazy!

  2. The potential client knows how to contact you. Once you've submitted the proposal and followed up, you've done your part. Let them make the effort to contact you to discuss proposal changes and clarifications. When they do, it demonstrates their interest and you are one step closer to being retained.

  3. Getting clients is a numbers game. You have to submit a certain number of proposals just to get retained. By moving on to search for the next client, you increase the odds that your next prospect will become a client.

Contacting the potential client more than once to ascertain the proposal's status is counterproductive. Also, it forces you to spend time and energy on what is now in the past. Keep your energies and thoughts focused on identifying the next client. Besides, when a proposal is finally accepted, you can be amazed at your good fortune!

Written by Paul Bednar. Paul Bednar helps people cut the corporate chains and become an independent consultant. ©2002 by Paul Bednar

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