Presenting Powerful Proposals to Close More Business13 Nov, 2005 By: Marvin Himel imageSource
Presenting Powerful Proposals to Close More Business
Well-known comedian Jeff
Foxworthy has earned fortune and fame from uttering the following seven words:
“You just might be a redneck if …”
Those celebrated words could easily be changed and applied to sales: “Your
proposals just might be in trouble if…”
• you use a boilerplate template and change just the equipment name.
• you change just the prospect’s name on the proposal.
• your proposals look like an equipment order form.
• you can’t tell the difference between your proposal and your competitors.
If any of the above sounds familiar to you, then you are probably not providing
your salespeople with powerful proposals that will close more business.
Remember, a proposal more than just a price quote for equipment. A proposal is
an agreement to do business and should only be presented after a prospect has
agreed to do business with you!
A good salesperson will use “tie downs” throughout the sales process to continue
moving forward and use a trial close before they present the price or the
proposal. Here is an example of what I’m talking about:
Tie Down: “The following are the major concerns I have discovered in our
time together. Would you agree with these?”
Tie Down: “I have also outlined how my company would be able to solve
those concerns. Can you see how this will benefit your company and solve the
major issues we just discussed?” You can either go through each bullet point one
by one, or together as an overview of the entire solution, depending on the
Trial Close: “How do you feel about the solution I have presented?”
Is it hot or not?
• If you get a hot response, it is time to present the proposal.
• If you get a warm response, go back and uncover some more pain or
present more value to the solution you’re proposing.
• If you get a cold response, you need to go back to the beginning. You
might as well take the proposal and throw it in the trash. You are much better
off re-engaging the prospect and discovering where you need to do more work.
Some salespeople are so proud of the elaborate proposal they spent so much time
preparing, they don’t care how the prospect responds. They just want to deliver
that proposal they’re so proud of.
Presenting the proposal
When presenting the correct and polished proposal, focus most of your attention
on the prospects “pain” or problems. Then talk about how your solution will rid
them of this pain. Make sure your proposal is presented in plain English and
does not have a lot of office equipment jargon. Instead of talking about
duplexing, for example, talk about the ability to copy on both sides of the
Also, present the solution in as abbreviated a manner as possible. This is
especially true when dealing with complex solutions such as document imaging.
These solutions can include many different components such as copiers, printers,
software, servers, etc. The best thing you can do is limit the size of your
proposal to two to three pages and, if necessary, include configuration charts
to show the different components.
Once you have given the prospect the proposal or price, the selling stops. The
minute it is presented, the prospect makes his or her value judgment about your
product and your company. Many salespeople mistakenly believe that it is their
job to present as many proposals as they possibly can. The reality is
salespeople do not get paid for presenting proposals; they get paid for closing
Be seen as THE solution, not as A
If the prospect sees your solution as just one of the potential solutions among
the many others they have, they will typically buy based on price. If your price
is the lowest you may get lucky and win the sale, but not likely. If your
solution is seen as the solution to their pain then the price becomes
For a copy of a Powerful Proposal to Close More Sales,
Nine Critical Components of a Powerful Proposal
1. Situation Analysis: The first part of your proposal must be a review
of the prospect’s “pain.” You have to be able to state their problem in one
sentence. If you can’t state their problem in one sentence you don’t understand
their problem. An example of this would be, “Atlantic Mortgage is currently
spending a tremendous amount of time processing mortgages.”
After you have stated the first problem in one sentence, hit them again. Make
them feel a little more pain by pointing out, “The executives of Atlantic
Mortgage recognize that these inefficiencies are costing a significant amount of
money and causing severe client dissatisfaction.”
2. Objectives: Let the prospect know exactly what is going to be
3. Metrics: How will both of you know that you have accomplished your
4. Joint Responsibilities: Let the prospect know what your
responsibilities are going to be, and what their responsibilities are going to
5. Credentials: Let the prospect know why your company is the solution.
6. Tactics: Clearly outline the steps that will be taken to fulfill the
7. Options: Every dealer should have different levels of service
offerings. It is amazing how much more money people will pay to be considered a
“Platinum” level client. Offer special incentives for your Platinum level
clients such as a 1-800 number answered by top customer service agents.
8. Terms and Conditions: This is simply the costs for each of the options
9. Acceptance: This is the prospect’s opportunity to acknowledge their
willingness to buy.