I’m a huge fan of Wendy Weiss, AKA the Queen of Cold Calling. She has transformed thousands of amateurs aimlessly “dialing for dollars” into maniacally “customer” focused professionals. I aspire!
The other day I ran across a post where Wendy talked about best practices on managing the proposal process titled “Stop Writing Proposals and Close more Sales”. Totally agree with her, why take the time to propose when you're not completely sure you and the customer "fit".
How many times have you heard Salespeople answer the question, "what did they think of the proposal?" with "I'm not sure, they're not returning my calls" or "they're still reviewing it"? Weak!
So I'd like to take it a step further and "propose" a different approach that will likely be more valuable for both you and the customer. This is especially critical to those selling products or services that deliver substantial value to your customers (think big!).
It’s called the “Pre-Proposal review", a process whereby you and the prospect, ideally your sponsor, champion or advocate, walk through a draft proposal in real-time, preferably in person. This concept has been around a good while…I can’t remember whether I picked it up from Don McNamara or Tom Freese?!
It takes a bit more work on the front-end to develop and execute a “Pre-Proposal Review”, but it's absolutely worth it. Not only will you get invaluable feedback and guidance, you’ll also be in a great position to confirm the fit with the client’s goals and budget as well as what the go forward process looks like. It's also possible to convert an early sale by asking for the business now!
To develop a Pre-Proposal review, you'll take the high-level from your boilerplate quote or proposal template. The key components of the review include the customer's goals (align the vision), solution requirements (confirm the fit), financials (value proposition/ROI) and an execution plan (timeline and resources). Remember, high-level! If you're over five slides or pages, trim it down!
To the team at Tinderbox – Dustin, Adam & Drew – in a perfect world, Sales pros would all get access to your solution because it truly provides an informative, interactive experience for the customer while maintaining engagement and a modicum of control for the Salesperson (and Sales Management!).
This is the goal of the Pre-Proposal review. If your proposal is important. If it’s a “game-changer” for your customer. If you want to maintain a consultative relationship with your client…DO NOT JUST SEND THE PROPOSAL AND WAIT (HOPE).
Do you Grok it?