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Monday, April 9, 2012

Don't Send That Proposal!

When it comes to proposals that salespeople must send – as opposed to presenting in person – sales reps typically rely on templates. Although I encourage that practice as a time-saving way of using proven phrases and design, you must make sure that you don’t miss details that are critical to the proposal’s success.

Although there are basic similarities shared by properly qualified prospects, each business that needs your product/service has its unique culture and diverse concerns. Before you hit “send”, to maximize your chance for success, ask yourself these three questions and adjust your presentation accordingly:

Who Will Be Reviewing the Proposal?
Is it really the decision-maker or is it somebody who will recommend your product/service to the decision-maker? Is this a single decision-maker or a team? Is it someone outside the decision-making process who is an ally within the company who can influence the decision-making process? Knowing exactly who will be reviewing this proposal can suggest subtle changes that will make the presentation more targeted and more effective.

Have I Hit Everybody’s Hot Button?
Once all reviewers of the proposal have been identified, make sure that all their concerns have been addressed. If you didn’t get this information from pre-proposal contact, re-contact the prospect and identify critical “hot button” data. For example, the CFO might focus on ROI, the Director of IT might need a specific parameter met, the VP of Marketing might be apprehensive about splitting his budget.  Understand and/or anticipate the concerns of all those who will be reviewing the proposal.

Do I Really Know What My Prospect Actually Needs?
Salespeople sometimes get so busy selling that they overlook critical details. Do you know what your prospect actually needs or are you too focused on what you want to sell them? To be successful, you must truly listen to what the prospect needs and then craft an action plan that addresses those needs. Beyond that most important step, you must be confident that your solution directly addresses exactly what the prospect is demanding. You are not ready to make a proposal if you don’t know what the prospect specifically wants/needs and that you are able to deliver the right solution.

Before you hit the send button, make sure that you have done the legwork necessary to move the sales process to the next level and that you have properly communicated that understanding in what you are presenting and  how you are presenting it

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