You go to make a big purchase or do a major renovation such as a kitchen remodel. It's something you've been saving for now for quite some time. You've conducted exhaustive research on the colors you want, the styles you like, and the decorations you want to include. You've even made a visual board for ideas.
The time comes to get estimates and timelines from contractors. You go with the rule of 3’s for estimates, and after meeting with them, you finally make the decision. You understand that there will be a payment due upfront, and you agree to those terms.
The work finally starts, and surprise, there are costs that should have been included in the estimate that wasn’t. You feel trapped and frustrated.
10 Questions to Ask Before Every Presentation
Experiences like this have me thinking about this part of the sales process with prospects.
Do we surprise them when it comes time to present, or do we collaborate along the way to get buy-in as we go? If you're getting to the proposal phase and thinking of it in terms of the big closing event, you may want to take a step back and think about how you can have a no surprise proposal instead.
Ask yourself these 10 questions before every presentation. If you can answer “YES” to all of them then you're ready to go!
1. Does your proposal clearly demonstrate that you understand your client’s needs, and is your recommendation built around those?
2. Does the messaging have a clear strategy telling the consumer why buy and a compelling tactic on why buy now? Will it move the consumer to take?
3. Have you discussed that solution in sufficient detail with the Decision Maker and key Decision Influencers to be certain they are very interested in it?
4. Have you discussed in pretty specific terms how much your proposed solution will cost and are they open to investing that amount?
5. Have the campaign launch dates been agreed upon?
6. Are you clear on the response path the consumer will need to take and have you confirmed it is in place and will work?
7. Have you agreed on 2-3 ways they will measure the success of the campaign?
8. Does your prospect understand their responsibilities and task in the implementation to derive ROI from it?
9. Have you checked for typos and other errors. Be certain you haven’t left out your name, the proposal date, and the expiration date.
10. And last, but not least, does your proposal have a signature page?
Surprises can be fun, but not surprise proposals. That is a sure way to stall the process.
*Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in 2014 and has since been updated.