Sales: You've Sent the Proposal. Now What? Pt.2

End the Dilemma of the Dangling Proposal

Continued from last week's post.

The real solution lies in what happens BEFORE you ever submit the proposal.

The real solution lies in you controlling if, when, and how you submit a proposal.

The real solution lies in you asking all the right questions BEFORE you agree to submit a proposal.

What are the right questions to ask?

Here are 10 essential (although not necessarily easy) questions to ask that will certainly illuminate the seriousness, the readiness, and intent behind your prospect's interest in working with you. Will asking all of them eliminate the dangling proposal? Unlikely; but you will most certainly decrease your danglers by a hefty percentage.

You can control your business instead of allowing prospects to leave you feeling like you are a hamster on a wheel, running after that piece of fruit you can never quite reach.

10 Essential Questions To Ask Before You Start Writing That Proposal

  1. What is prompting you to request a proposal at this time?
  2. What elements do you expect and need to see in the proposal in order to make the right decision for your company?
  3. What don't you want to see in the proposal?
  4. If all of the elements in our proposal meet your needs, will you be ready to sign off on it immediately? What is your urgency level?
  5. Are there any obstacles to our working together that we should know about before we prepare our proposal?
  6. If all obstacles are addressed, will you be ready to move forward with us at this time? What other decisions would you need to make first?
  7. To whom should we submit the proposal? Who should be copied on the proposal? Who will need to sign off on the proposal? Is there anyone else who will need to approve this? (This is a key question. You need to drill as deeply as possible here because very often the requester of the proposal is not the decision maker, and doesn't want to be transparent about this)
  8. Are you requesting proposals from any other candidates at this time? (I know - you don't want to ask this question, but it is a frequent source of the dangling proposal dilemma)
  9. How will you make your final decision?
  10. Are there any remaining concerns on your mind that we should know about? (If you were in the prospect's shoes, wouldn't you appreciate a professional asking you about addressing your concerns?)

Listen carefully to the answers to these questions and don't attempt to convince or sell the prospect. Then, if they really appear to be ready, proceed with proposal development.

If you get a sense there is hesitation or uncertainty or lack of true commitment to working together, you may need another meeting to deepen the trust and the relationship.

You have the power to decide if and when you want to invest in developing a proposal and go to the next level with your prospect.


This expertise is offered by Nancy Fox is President of Fox Coaching Associates, a coaching and training firm specializing in assisting lawyers, accountants, and business owners nationwide"make rain without the pain(tm)." She has worked with hundreds of legal and other professionals in leveraging contacts, building successful relationships in business, and making lots of rain. Nancy publishes a FREE acclaimed bi-monthly e-zine, The Rainmaker Review, filled with tips and rainmaking information and takes subscriptions at

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Peggy Duncan, SCORE Atlanta
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Peggy Duncan


This is very useful. I wrote

This is very useful. I wrote a proposal back in August and though I received favourable feedback, to date I have no contract. I am in the process of setting up meetings with other possible providers and this really captures some points that I did not cover in with my first proposal

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