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Following up proposals: timing is everything

Timing is everything, also when making business proposals and following them up. If you are too fast, you may seem too eager. If you are late, this can be interpreted as disinterest. And then the follow-up: when do you call a (potential) customer to ask what he thinks of your proposal? Dilemmas, tips, how-tos - you can read everything there is to know in this blog. In just a few minutes you are fully aware of all options and you know what works and what doesn't!

Timing is everything

Proposals in the sales process

A successful sales process consists of a number of structural steps that give you insight and keep you on the right course. The proposal is such a step. A good proposal supports the (previously conducted) sales conversation and offers an extra opportunity to bring solutions and arguments to the attention again. In other words: an extra opportunity to convince a customer and win the order or assignment. Quite important! It is therefore good to have a few must-knows at hand, for example about the timing of making and following up on proposals.

Preferably make your proposal as soon as possible

You have just returned from a top conversation and are full of ideas. It clicked really well between you. Do you know that? Take advantage of it and start immediately with your proposal. With the conversation still fresh in the mind, the right words come naturally. Undoubtedly, the customer will also be able to identify with your proposal. When your proposal is ready, you can do two things: send it immediately or wait a little longer. Read on and discover which of the two options suits you and your customer best.

Primacy recency effect

Sending a proposal: either first or last

Did you know that we subconsciously remember the first and the last we see better? We call this cognitive phenomenon the primacy-recency effect. The what? Yes, this effect is all about being the first (primacy) or the last (recency). Theoretically, you have a better chance if you send your proposal the same day or wait until the last possible moment.

Advantage if you are the first

What happens if you send your proposal the same day? Could it be that you seem desperate and seem like you have nothing to do? Well, it depends. If you cannot devote a lot of time and attention to your proposal, I would definitely advise against it. But if you come up with a well-founded and enthusiastic proposal that same day, you will certainly make an impression. In fact, your proposal will become "the norm" from that moment on and will be compared with the other proposals. Is the time factor a bottleneck for you? There are smart proposal tools with which you can quickly and clearly make an irresistible proposal. All you have to do is grab your notes and you're good to go!

Benefit of the latter

You don't have to be afraid of appearing indifferent or arrogant, as long as you pack the late date of your proposal well. Indicate that your proposal took a bit longer because you first wanted to devise a custom solution. You work carefully, you weigh all the pros and cons and that is something that every customer likes to read!

What if you are somewhere in the middle?

If you estimate that your proposal will arrive somewhere in the middle of the process, there is a theoretical chance that your proposal will go up in the crowd. You can overcome this by paying extra attention to the appearance of your proposal. Our unconscious brain works very simply: what you draw attention to becomes important. Therefore, add well-selected visuals that immediately catch the eye. Suppose you send a proposal for ergonomic office furniture, then show visuals with energetic and happy employees. Support your visual with figures that show that absenteeism decreases and productivity increases. In this way, the visual enhances the positive effect of your product and at the same time puts the customer in the right mindset.

Always follow up on proposals

You have paid a lot of attention to the client and the proposal so far. By calling or following up on your proposal, you show that you take it seriously. You show your involvement and strengthen the connection with the customer. It is often just that extra push that makes the customer choose you. Always include a follow-up appointment in your schedule. The key question here is of course when? What is the best timing to call or email the customer?

The perfect timing for proposal follow-up

You can organize the follow-up in advance by indicating in the closing of your proposal when you are going to call: I will gladly go through the proposal with you. Is Monday 20 March around 10:00 a.m.? The advantage of this is that the customer sees that you take their request seriously, but you "force" the customer to have assessed your proposal before then. Meanwhile, the customer may have very different priorities. Do you not want to appear pushy and be sure about the right nabel or follow-up moment? Then invest in a proposal program. A good proposal program ensures that as soon as the customer opens your proposal, you receive a notification email. This way you always call exactly on time! Some people find it a bit inconvenient, but the nice thing about a proposal tool is that you can also view all kinds of statistics. For example, how often your proposal has been viewed since it was received. With these and other insights, calling afterwards becomes super easy!

Follow up


A proposal is an important part of the sales process. Investing in an online software tool is a smart move. The tool supports you in creating, sending, following up and evaluating proposals. You save loads of time and gain valuable insights that make your work more fun and successful. And your timing? From now on it is always good!

Gabriëlle de Sain

Gabriëlle de Sain

Friday, September 18, 2020 - Create Proposal


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