How to Handle the Ungracious Prospect

Writing a thought out proposal that will provide a beneficial solution to a prospect is quite the involved process. Putting a dollar value on something that will both solve this person’s troubles and fall within his or her parameters can be arduous, but all that legwork pays of when you can refer to that prospect as a client.

However, not all prospective clients will be rewarding to work with. You probably understand the frustration that goes along with the inconsiderate prospect – the person that requires you to put all your paying clients on hold to quote them when odds are, you’ll never here from them again after the quote is sent. As vexing as this sounds, you can make dealing with ungracious prospects a little less frustrating and time-consuming. Here are a few tips.

1. Weed out the tire-kickers

You’re always going to have clients that understand what quality is worth and those more concerned with spending the least amount of money. Don’t ever sell yourself short and compete on price to get business. It’s important to get a grasp of a prospect’s budget during your first consultation. This will help you get a better understanding of the best solution you can provide. It was also help you see if your prospect’s expectations are completely unrealistic.

2. Streamline the proposal-writing process

Create a system for writing your proposals in order to save yourself time. Make sure to track your hours on all projects so you can create a reference that will help you gauge how long future jobs will take.

3. Don’t give it away for free

Sometimes you’ll run into a prospect that will have an array of questions for you on standby before they’ve even approved the start of a project. Be careful not to give away too much free information. There’s nothing wrong with being polite and offering a few words of wisdom to build the prospect’s confidence to work with you, but make sure to know when to stop giving and start getting them to sign their approval.

4. Walk away gracefully

After you submit a proposal to a client, give them some breathing space before following up with a courtesy e-mail or phone call. Don’t bombard them with a cluster of anxious e-mails or voicemails either. Think of it like dating – you don’t want to sound desperate. Realize when it’s time to call off the chase and walk away gracefully. You’d be surprised how that kind of confidence can motivate a client to get back in touch with you.

Always remember to follow the same etiquette and standards in writing proposals for every prospective client. By taking the high road, you’re demonstrating a high level of customer service on behalf of your company. If the prospect declines your proposal, it’s not the end of the world. There are always plenty of fish in the sea. Best of luck with your future prospects!


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