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Colleen Francis

I think its critical to always secure the follow up call or meeting before the statement of work is submitted. Most sales people don't do this and then are forced to chase the follow up call. If you secure the follow up meeting before you leave the meeting you are in you can (almost) guarantee the follow-up will be held.

For example: when a client asks for a SOW I say "I would love to prepare that for you this week, thanks for asking. When do you need it on your desk?"
Client: Friday
You: Great, I can have that to you for Friday at 2pm. How about we agree to a call Friday at 12 noon to run through the draft and make sure I didn't miss anything
You:Great, I can have that to you for Friday at 2pm. How about we agree to a call Monday at 12 noon to run through the SOW and answer your questions.

Colleen Francis

Bob Apollo

I think there are two threads that need to be woven together here:

First, while taking the brief, be sure to use the opportunity to understand why the issue they are asking you to help them solve has become important now, who else is affected by the problem, who would have to review and approve the proposal, and what the business impact would be if the issue wasn't dealt with. It's easier (and more professional, since we are using that term) to get this information during the brief, rather than scrambling for it later.

Second, as per Colleen's response, insist, politely, that you schedule a proposal review session with them, and get a firm date to do so in their diaries before you prepare and send the proposal to them. Stand your ground if they demur. You'll be putting a lot of work in for them (and maybe sharing some free learning with them, to boot). It's perfectly reasonable for you to expect them to review your proposal thoughtfully and to share their feedback with you in return. No quid pro quo, no show.

Bob Apollo

Jill Konrath

Colleen & Bob,

Excellent suggestions! I appreciate you adding your 2 cents!


Jeff Garrison

I like the suggestions above. One thing I do at the beginning of a client engagement is to discuss mutual expectations. I state that we have done dozens of projects like this and we know what makes them go well and what bogs things down. In order for us to achieve the best results together we need to mutually agree to transparent and responsive communication. That means if we call or email each other, we are committed to getting back within 48 hours, even if it is just to acknowledge that one of us owes the other an answer to a question.

It does not work all the time, but asking for the client to make a commitment to this has helped.


In South Arica these are the many challenges we experience...mainly related to bigger projects.
Our approach is to always enusure you get commitment for at least the 2nd meeting; wherein a propper due deligence of the opporyinuty is done. In other words, establishing parties in involve in the decison making process, and how far can the prospect excercise his/her authority.

The two suggestions above are great!



Can I add 2 tactics that have worked for me in the past?
1) Whenever possible on a project SOW, I try to include a timeline flow for the project. Early entries on the timeline are the dates for already conducted overview meeting and the date of the SOW presentation (which would be "today"). The next pending date on the timeline would be an SOW review date when we think appropriate. Get the client to agree to dated event steps from the timeline.

2) For those dates that are ageed upon, have the client send out the meeting invite to you and any others that are needed. I've found that when the client sends the meeting invite, there is a sense that they now "own" the meeting - plus you know for a fact that it is on their calendar. (I also use the client sending invite as a tactic when I set any type of client meeting as I've experienced lower cancellation rates that way.

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