Ever wondered why that enthusiastic “yes” you heard on the phone turns into the silent treatment after you send your proposal? It’s because you haven’t done your research before writing the proposal.
Without this research, you’re probably writing your proposal for the wrong person.
Not once you get out of your head and start looking at things from the client’s perspective.
Imagine that you are a buyer.
You get a phone call from a salesperson.
You are vaguely interested (despite saying you are very interested on the phone).
They send you a proposal with a ton of information in it. You’re busy so you skim it and forward it on to your boss, the CEO, the Marketing Director and a couple of Ops guys.
A few of them are vaguely interested, however John in Ops says no. You don’t care enough to contest it so you delete it and ignore the salesperson’s calls.
So what went wrong in the above example?
Well, there are three key milestones your proposal has to pass in order to be approved:
Milestone 1: Personal buy in.
First of all, your contact must have personal buy-in to your solution and think it is strong enough to send to the other decision makers. If there is any risk (i.e. if they don’t believe in it enough to champion it in the organisation) they will not send it on.
Milestone 2: Stakeholder buy in.
Secondly, the other people involved in the decision must buy-in to your solution. On average there are 6.8 stakeholders involved in the decision making process. It doesn’t matter how high up you send your proposal, even to the CEO, they will still involve others (end users, finance etc.) to ensure everyone thinks they have made a good decision.
For many of the stakeholders your proposal will be the first time they have seen your company and your name. They won’t have been privy to the sales conversation you had. All they see is what is there on paper; normally a list of unimportant features… and the price.
Milestone 3: Logistics and Negotiation
Thirdly, if the stakeholders all say yes, the proposal will then get batted back and forth as the decision makers work out logistics and negotiate the terms of contract.
The problem is that salespeople write proposals that only get them to milestone one.
They pour their time and energy into writing a proposal that highlights value … but only to their initial contact.
And because the proposal demonstrates no value to the other 5.8 stakeholders, they can’t see why it is worth it. The proposal doesn’t answer the questions that they need answering.
They see it as too much hassle and so veto the idea.
After all, inertia is far easier, cheaper and quicker than change from the status quo.
In order to move through every milestone of the journey, it’s crucial to do your research. When writing your proposal, it must answer three questions that all stakeholders will be asking:
Why must they change what they are currently doing? If you can’t provide a compelling reason why they should go through the hassle of changing then… they will say no.
Why must they choose you above all other suppliers? If you don’t make it supremely clear why the stakeholders should choose you then… they will say no.
What is the impact your solution will give them in six months’ time? If you do not explain how the stakeholders will make an impactful return on investment from working with you then… they will say no.
In summary, most salespeople write proposals for the wrong person and reason because they fail to do their research beforehand.
They focus on the needs of their initial contact, rather than all the stakeholders involved in the decision.
And they focus on answering the question ‘why choose you?’ rather than exploring the need to change and the impact it will create.
Make it easy for stakeholders to say yes by writing your proposal to the needs of all decision makers, and writing your proposal using the three questions:
Why change? Why choose you? What is the impact of working with you?
If you write your proposal for the right people in the right way, you will receive the right response.
Sales kick-off meetings: How to use the momentum to power long-term change
17th May 2022
Drive retention and performance through a sales academy
9th March 2022
Call AI: The sales coaching technology you need in 2022
22nd February 2022
Drive real results from sales training in 2022: Why the traditional model doesn’t work
2nd February 2022
Sales Engagement Summit – Hosted by Raoul
16th December 2021
How business development reps can give buyers the confidence to say yes
3rd December 2021
The biggest mistake sales development reps make (and three things you should do instead)
9th November 2021
Five myths you need to know about customer success teams
11th October 2021
The four levers you can pull to increase sales velocity and how to make an impact
1st September 2021
Outcome Based Selling
3rd August 2021
Why most sales training doesn’t work and what to do about it
1st July 2021
3 reasons why writing a proper proposal is worth your time
18th March 2021
How to win a sales pitch…
26th February 2021
Sales Professionals: Why you shouldn’t assume you’ve got remote selling nailed
15th January 2021
Is your sales team ready for 2021?
4th January 2021
Selling Virtual Events
26th November 2020
Why salespeople must be ‘long-term greedy’: A five-step approach to winning more sales
13th November 2020
Closing skills: Why the pandemic has made it even harder to close that deal and what to do about it.
1st November 2020
Post Covid: How to fill your B2B pipeline with customers who do want to speak to you?
5th October 2020
3 steps for monetising virtual events
15th July 2020
18th May 2020
5 tips for closing in the crisis
4th May 2020
Using audience insights to engage with customers
20th April 2020
Biggest challenge of leading a remote sales team
15th April 2020
“Clients don’t want to engage with me”
6th April 2020
The world has changed – what should I sell?
31st March 2020
Leading remote sales teams
30th March 2020
Selling in a crisis
25th March 2020
Proposal writing research: Why your proposal doesn’t work
17th March 2020
How to accelerate your sponsorship revenue
17th February 2020
How selling to the individual increases your chance of them buying by 2x
7th February 2020
New Year, new rules. How to deliver sales training that actually works!
2nd January 2020
Half of B2B sales people will miss their 2020 targets. It’s time to shift perspective.
18th November 2019
Questions that drive more sales
15th November 2019
How to speed up prospect decision making… PART TWO
21st October 2019
How to speed up prospect decision making – PART ONE
14th October 2019
The biggest mistake salespeople make… and how to avoid it
26th July 2019
You have the right to demand more ROI from your sales training (and here’s how you get it)
16th May 2019
How to grow customer accounts this year
22nd March 2019
5 big sales mistakes from this year
23rd December 2018
How to turn the marketing trust crisis into sales opportunity
5th October 2018
Why is it so hard to find great business development talent?
21st September 2018
It might be hot outside but you still need a SCARF.
12th July 2018
The Peter Principle: Great Salesperson, Crap Manager
25th June 2018
The ‘great deal graveyard’ and how to avoid it
8th June 2018
The secret to selling in today’s market: Old-school to New-school
22nd March 2018
Why people DON’T buy from people they like
28th February 2018
What salespeople can learn from Nike
5th February 2018
Why “yes” doesn’t mean YES
26th January 2018
Take charge of your sales career in 2022
15th January 2018
How sales and marketing must work together to deliver results: tips from the front line of B2B selling
20th July 2016
6 facts and stats B2B sales people cannot ignore
26th May 2016
The amazing power of stories and 5 ways to make them sell
15th October 2015
The trouble with Blitz Days and how to increase their effectiveness
7th October 2015