Present a Proposal to Every Prospect


“You miss 100% of the shots that you do not take.” – Wayne Gretzky

Every customer who has purchased a B2B product has one thing in common: they agreed to a proposal to move forward. A proposal is the act of offering or suggesting something for acceptance or adoption. A proposal does not have to be 10-pages long with price buried in the middle of it. A proposal can be a one page summary of the figures and terms discussed. Why are proposals important in sales? They create trust and instill confidence with prospects. Prospects believe what they see, not what they hear. Proposals help salespeople show, not just tell.

According to research conducted by CTT, 63% of salespeople never put a proposal in front of a prospect. No proposal most often means no close. Why? Prospects want and need information to influence and make decisions. Proposals not only provide clarity to the salesperson’s offering, they serve as an internal selling tool for the prospect within their own organization. Prospects are busy. Remembering figures and terms is difficult. Proposals make it easier. If the prospect does not have a proposal, the salesperson’s must rely on them to keep things straight, which is dangerous.

Presenting a proposal early in the process also enables the salesperson to set the price of the product for the prospect. The prospect then has the entire evaluation to make sense of the price set for them. In contrast, if the prospect does not have a point of reference for price, they are left to determine the perceived value of the product on their own and what they are willing to pay for it. In addition, when the prospect has a proposal in front of them, the salesperson can ask for the close at any point during the evaluation; e.g., Have you seen enough to make a decision?

Tip: Salespeople should not send a proposal with a discount at the start of the evaluation process. For example, car dealerships do not negotiate price with prospects before the test drive. The purpose of the test drive is to determine if the car will solve the prospect’s problem and to reinforce its value, emotionally and logically. The same is true of software proof of concepts and trials. Once the prospect is “sold” emotionally and logically on the product, discounting should only be used strategically during the negotiation process; e.g., closing speed, multi-year contract, etc.

Always submit a proposal to the prospect even when they are not ready to buy. If you do not, coming to an agreement will be more difficult. Say, “I will send you a proposal to review so you can see what an agreement might would look like, including the what would be included in the deal.” Prospects cannot influence or make decisions within their organizations if they do not have the right information. The more proposals salespeople put in front of prospects, the more deals they will win. If there is no proposal, the prospect cannot say yes or no.

All contents copyright © 2017, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

How to Handle Objections

How to Handle Sales Objections

Nothing defeats inexperienced (and often experienced) salespeople faster than unexpected objections from existing customers and new prospects. While most salespeople invest significant time perfecting their sales presentations and product demonstrations, they give little attention to handling the complaints and objections that inevitably come with them. They end up losing deals because of statements like “I do not have time,” “I need to think about it” and “We do not have budget.” They do not have the necessary process or prepared rebuttals to effectively handle them.

Eighty percent of “objections” are actually complaints and will not materially impact the sale if handled correctly. In fact, only 20% of objections are truly objections. Great salespeople always treat objections as complaints first. They acknowledge the compliant, but give it no value. They know that if they treat a compliant like an objection, they validate it and turn it into something that it is not. The more a complaint is validated, the more it becomes real to the prospect. According, below are five steps to effectively handle complaints, as well as objections.

  • Step 1 – Acknowledge the “objection.” When the prospect says, “Your price is too high,” the salesperson should say, “I understand.” Acknowledging the prospect makes them feel heard.
  • Step 2 – Treat the “objection” as a compliant first. Keep moving or say, “Can I address that issue at the end of the presentation?” Eighty percent of “objections” will disappear.
  • Step 3 – Only address an objection if it is brought up twice by the prospect. When an objection is brought up twice by the prospect, it is a real, actual objection.
  • Step 4 – Isolate the objection. For example, “Is X your only concern?” If yes, proceed to Step 5. If no, ask the prospect to prioritize their other concerns and address them accordingly (Step 5).
  • Step 5 – Address the objection with a thoughtful, well-practiced rebuttal. Objections fall into four categories: money, product, stall and time. Handle them by classification.

Money: We do not have budget.

Rebuttal: “I understand. We do not expect you to buy anything today. We would like the opportunity to share with you how we are helping other companies do X, and to see if it would be valuable to your company. What date and time work best for you this week?”

Product: I have used X at another company and do not need to receive a demonstration.

Rebuttal: “Thank you for your interest in using X again, we appreciate it. We have invested a lot of resources into adding new capability and value to the product. Even our existing customers say they benefited by taking 10-15 minutes to review them with us. How does <date> and <time> work for you this week?”

Stall: I need to think about it.

Rebuttal: “Of course you need to think about it. I will take personal responsibility for not giving you enough information to not think about it. Let me quickly give you some additional information about what an evaluation [or proposal] might look like, so you can think about it and make an informed decision.”

Time: I do not have time.

Rebuttal: “I understand that you are busy. Many of our current customers initially said that they were too busy as well. However, after we took 10-15 minutes to discuss X and how to effectively solve it, the ‘cost’ of waiting became too expensive for them. Are you open to me sharing with you what I shared with them?”

All contents copyright © 2017, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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