Are you really presenting proposals or in reality are you sending your prospects and customers a glorified quote that is titled a proposal?
A quote tells the buyer the price. A proposal sells the benefits, explains you know the prospect's business and details why they should go with your solution, product or service. A proposal explains the cost as an investment, it details why your prospect can't afford not to do business with you.
So why don't sales people write proposals? They think they have to be long, fully detailed works of art and they often do not get enough information on the sales call about the prospect's needs, They probably don't have the facts and figures for a valid ROI argument either. So a quote gets delivered, but on the front cover it says "A proposal for.........."
A proposal does not have to be a long diatribe, it does not have to be a glossy, four color, spiral bound masterpiece. In some circumstances even one page will do!
A proposal is about substance not volume and should include:
1. An introduction
2. The prospect's needs
3. Your solution
4. The investment and ROI
5. Why your solution
6. Appendices (terms, specs, warranty etc.)
Frequently a proposal will go on one or two pages and can be a simple Word template (ask for an example). Don't forget if it is a long proposal then you do need an executive summary and a really usable contents page.
With prospects and sellers alike being so busy these days, we are even using PowerPoint slides with short sharp bullet points to present proposals. We then export the slides into a .pdf and give it to the customer they love it!
Last point don't forget, if a proposal is worth writing, its worth taking in person.
Don't forget to ask for the order! Do I hear you laughing? You would be surprised how many people make the sales presentation and don't ask for the order. Prospects don't "close" themselves. Whatever you are selling products, professional services, consultancy you have to ask for the order. Don't leave it to chance, plan your close in advance. How are you going to ask for the order, what will your close be, have you got the answers to objections ready? We all plan opening the sale, we rarely plan how we are going to ask for the business.
In the current economic climate the ability of the "decision maker" to actually make a decision has to be seriously questioned by the seller. When the cash is flowing the decision making moves down the organisation to management and even operation levels, when funds are tight decision making moves back up the organisation to the executive suite.
In lean times, even with companies not necessarily experiencing financial difficulties, there is less latitude to waste, or even risk wasting, hard earned revenues. So an edict comes down from the top "all expenditure to be sanctioned by the board". Suddenly your contact shifts from being the decision maker to being a decision influencer as their purchasing ability is discreetly removed.
The problem for you is that in the majority of cases pride takes over and your contact does not tell you they have lost their power they just come up withreasons as to why "they" are delaying "their" decision.
If you are working on a deal and the decision is not forthcoming, especially from a contact who has given you orders in the past, then double check the decision making dynamics. Its a tough call but you may need to go around your contact and go to a higher authority.
The negotiation starts and the selling stops when the customer's need for the product or service is equal to the seller's need to sell it. In other words, figuratively or literally, the customer is saying "I am buying, from you, subject to terms". Frequently, however, the sales person offers discounts or incentives before the customer is really ready to buy. This tells the customer you will drop the price and may even leave the customer thinking you are over priced. Make sure before you start negotiating that you have asked your prospect "are you ready to buy?" you may have more selling to do. Don't offer any incentive too early, you may end up having to offer even more later to close the deal.
Closing skills the number one request we get for sales training and coaching. We engage with the client's sales people and quickly discover closing is not the problem. The deals the sales people are trying to close are not "real deals"
The sales person has created a need for the product, service or solution and has probably discussed time-scales for a decision with the prospect. Great, but what's the business driver (something happening in the business that is forcing change or action) that is creating the need for the product.
What is the compelling event (the date or deadline for the change or action demanded by the business driver) that is behind the time-scale?
Think about it this way:
Need + time-scale = nice to have.
Business driver + compelling event = must have!
Its tough to admit but ask yourself "are you selling to someone who has a real need or are you trying to sell to someone who has listened to you, and thought it would be "nice to have" what you sell, but its not a necessity".
Maybe you need some new prospects?
The dictionary defines value as "......the worth of something, compared to something else.....". This is a great definition when you are selling, just because we think what we sell delivers benefits, it doesn't mean the customer does. What is of value to one customer is not necessarily of value to another. Your USP, the benefits you [possibly] deliver, your differentiaters, are all meaningless if they are not "of value" to your prospects, clients and customers. Ask questions about what the customer values, pitch only the capabilities of your product, service, profession that delivers value to that customer. If what you have on offer is not of benefit, don't present it!