Since access to your customers is more difficult, getting feedback on how deals are progressing is more challenging as a result. My March 31, 2020 post was focused on how to have documents “speak for themselves” because having the number and depth of conversations we used to have is more difficult. Here is great example you can leverage to understand where a deal stands and hopefully keep it moving forward.
Create a “Letter of Understanding (LOU)”
The overall idea is to document your understanding of recent discussions, how the customer is viewing your solution, criteria for evaluating your solution and next steps in the process. Your customer will certainly see that you are paying attention to details and respect this professional approach. Components of an LOU should include:
- Opening paragraph – thank the customer for their time, request they review the letter and comment to ensure you have an accurate understanding of status and next steps
- Date of meeting
- Topics covered
- Steps completed
- Feedback received
- Agreed upon next steps and dates assuming agreed upon criteria achieved
- Agreed upon follow up discussion to review LOU
Once you start using LOUs, you will find some of them will be good templates for future opportunities. Sometimes customers will use them to show their management a crisp summary of discussions on an upcoming project (you made them look good!).
Learn from my mistakes and keep your deals moving forward
There were certainly deals where I got lazy and did not use this great tool when I should have. My close ratio when I got lazy was not great. LOUs are not necessary for every deal. The larger, more complex deals are usually a great fit.
The process of putting an LOU together by itself creates clarity for you and saves your customer time. Given the increase distractions customers are dealing with, this assistance should receive a warm welcome.
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