February 12, 2017 Leave a comment
“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.