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“The dog ate my homework”

… and other excuses for not researching prospects.

What needs to be done before offering a proposal to a prospect:

  • Find out if the person you’re dealing with has the power and authority to make a purchase decision… or will your proposal have to be vetted and approved by other people . And if so, in what circumstances (who, when, how)
  • Learn as much as you can (market research) about the organisation before you put together a proposal. Check website, press cuttings, ask around for advice
  • What does the prospect understand by the term “Marketing”? (What people think they want and what they actually need from their Marketing are often different! To them, it might just mean a new brochure; to your analysis, it may mean a 6 months integrated and international campaign across several marketing “platforms”)
  • What’s their budget for future marketing? (If they can only afford a moped, there‘s no point in offering a Rolls Royce of solutions)
  • Get hold of previous marketing and sales materials (brochures, leaflets, ads etc.) so you can find out how effective and successful each has been. If, say, a leaflet has generated a score of profitable enquiries, it might be worth doing again…
  • If at this point you are satisfied that you have the time, effort, energy and resources to design and deliver a marketing plan, you should arrange a face to face with the prospect so that you can…
  • Learn what they want/expect from their marketing. You will probably want to incorporate some of this into the marketing plan
  • Optionally, tour the premises, watch the manufacturing process, meet employees, meet the board
  • … and from what you’ve seen and learned, put together a marketing proposal.

NEXT TIME: Shock, horror, scoop! – marketing costs money!

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