Several years ago, one of the big beer companies began a marketing campaign where they identified the "born-on date" of their beers. Not being a beer drinker, I have no idea if this resonated with beer drinkers other than to know that it no longer exists in their marketing. Fresh food has an expiration date, or best when used by date. Many offers or discounts have expiration dates. With food, it's about safety. With other products, it's about urgency.
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
Earlier this month during our Sales Essentials virtual training session, we were discussing proposals when one participant shared that her key takeaway was the suggestion to put an expiration date on every proposal.
An expiration date on your proposal is a time saver and stress reliever for you. How many times have you made a presentation to a client only to follow up for days, weeks and maybe months, just to have them tell you that they still are thinking about it, or worse, they don't respond? (I'm still waiting for Henry Inger from H.I.'s to say yes to a proposal I gave him in 1991.) This causes you needless stress and agitation. Sure, we can assume not getting a response means they aren’t interested, but we don't REALLY know.
Putting an expiration date on every proposal provides you the closure to move on gracefully. If your attempts to reconnect with the client are unsuccessful, on the expiration date, you make a final call and leave a message similar to this: "I'm calling to follow up on the strategy we discussed last week. The expiration date of that proposal is today at 5 p.m., so if I don't hear from you by then, I will know you are not interested, and I'll work on a different strategy."
We recommend that your proposal expire five business days from the date you present. Not only does this provide a sense of urgency, more importantly, it allows you closure and the ability to move on stress-free.
Here's how it might look on your proposal:
"The products, systems and services detailed on this proposal are available to (Client) through (Date five business days from presentation) for an investment of $22,000 per month."
Knowing for sure is a lot better than waiting forever, wouldn't you agree?
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.