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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

What If You Never Wrote Another Proposal?

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What if you never wrote another proposal? Outlandish statement? Maybe not.

Most people are anxious to get a proposal in front of their prospect as soon as possible. After all, the sooner we ask them to buy something, the sooner we will get an answer right? Correct. You WILL get an answer sooner when you ask a prospect to buy sooner. So, why not crank out those proposals?
 
Here’s why:
 
The quick answer you get is far more likely to be “no” or a “Let me think about it.”  Which you know eventually winds down into a “no." A woodpecker bangs its head against a tree a thousand times a minute. Is that how you see yourself?
 
So, what about this?
 
What if by the time you presented your proposal, you and the prospect had already confirmed that you are working on the right needs? Needs that warrant attention and a solution sooner rather than later?

Topics: Proposal setting expectations Sales

The Two Biggest Problems B2B Salespeople Have With Proposals

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1.  They don’t hear “yes” often enough.

2.  They don’t hear “no” often enough.

When you talk to salespeople all time as I do, it’s easy to see the biggest problem with many proposals is that they seem to fall into a black hole, an abyss, where salespeople don’t hear either "yes" or "no." That’s a problem.

It’s better to hear “no” than nothing. As a result, salespeople feed pending information to their managers each week, which includes proposals still hanging out there, and sales managers continue to miss their projections with faulty data. Experience shows that each week that goes by between presentation and getting an answer, the chance of closing a proposal goes down. In fact, the closing percentage on proposals over 30 days old is usually less than 10%, far less than what the salespeople are projecting. The reality is a no answer is usually a “no” answer.

So, how can salespeople avoid having their proposals drop off the face of the planet, never to be heard about again? Here are some steps that should be useful:

Topics: Proposal Needs Analysis Sales

Sales Strategy: How Preparation Speeds Up the Sales Process

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New business efforts are full steam ahead! As I am helping execute new business sales drives for different sales organizations from all over the country, I am uncovering a significant difference between how management feels this should be accomplished versus the salespeople charged with generating the revenue.

First, here's what management wants: to hit an aggressive new business goal in a specific amount of time from the very best prospects for their industry, which has been strategized to meet overall growth objectives. This is good; sales organizations need to think this way to grow and compete.

Now here's what salespeople want: to hit that number by calling on as many prospects as they can, so they hopefully get enough first appointments set, so they can complete the rest of the sales process, and hopefully close enough new business. This is NOT good because this philosophy leads to choosing and spinning your wheels on lousy prospects and hasty approaches to getting first appointments. Both of which will certainly impede any salesperson trying to hit their numbers.

Topics: Proposal new business development Needs Analysis Sales

5 Ways to Create Sales Proposals That Close Deals

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Today we have a guest post by Mikita Mikado. Mikita is the Co-Founder & CEO of PandaDoc, a platform helping sales teams create, deliver, and track intelligent sales content to close deals faster. To learn more about simplifying your sales documents, connect with Mikita and the PandaDoc team on Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Topics: Proposal Sales

Close More Deals Using a No-surprise Proposal

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Surprises can be fun when they are part of a birthday; not-so-much when involved in selling and closing a B2B deal. Salespeople should do their due diligence—via ongoing contracting and clarification—to minimize surprises in the sales process, especially during proposal development and presentation.

Too often proposals are met with the response, “Let me think about it," because the buyer is hearing many of the proposal elements for the first time during the proposal presentation. Ouch… these five words can really derail a sale! Salespeople can eliminate these words from the sales process and improve their closing ratio by using a no-surprise proposal technique that clarifies these 5 things before they build and present a proposal:

Topics: Proposal Sales

Dealing with Price Competition

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Price competition is a reality, and it can become pretty intense at times! You can’t avoid it altogether, but you can greatly minimize the haggling over price. The key to dealing with price competition is creating specific value for each of your customers.

Topics: Proposal sales strategy Sales

The Danger Of Breathtaking Proposals

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You gotta know that modern software and a bevy of specifically-trained digital layout specialists is lifting the tide for everyone when it comes to creating absolutely gorgeous proposals. Who knows what tomorrow’s technology will produce for us. Perhaps 3-D versions of a proposal delivered by hologram, featuring the best-looking and best-sounding salesperson technology can conjure up.  Intriguing to think of, isn’t it?

Despite the fact that very few proposals are unattractive these days, I hear from salespeople that it seems fewer of them actually get read—or if they are delivered in person, not enough of them are being sold. So what is going on? What the high-powered graphics packages don’t take into account is that a proposal must me more than a pretty face. CONTENT trumps appearance 9.9 times out of 10.  A plain-looking proposal with strong content is more likely to sell than a graphically appealing production with weak or generic content. 

Topics: Proposal Sales

What Marriage Proposals Teach Us About Business Proposals

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I’ve been divorced and remarried. I’ve also lost and closed sales opportunities. As I think about the courtship of either kind of relationship, I’m reminded of how a marriage proposal simulates both really great and not-so-great business proposals. 

Topics: Proposal Sales

The Language In Your Proposal Might Be Holding You Back

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Recently I had a conversation with a manager where she was expressing concern about the language she was seeing in their proposals. In reading them over, the words were crisp and highly descriptive. The problem was, the language and terms were those they use in their own internal discussions—their industry jargon. This is a problem. 

Topics: Proposal Sales

Why 75% of Proposals Will Never Close, and 10 Ways to Improve

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These days it seems like every time I ask someone in sales how they’re doing, I get the same response: “I’ve got a lot pending!” This has become so prevalent in every market I visit, I could easily be convinced that compensation plans have changed so radically that people are now getting paid on pending! Because I know this is not case, I also know we have a problem. 

500 Proposals Don’t Lie

Over the last 6 months, I reviewed over 500 proposals from a variety of B2B sales organizations. These were all legitimate proposals, actually presented to a prospect or client, and they have provided me with some valuable insight that I am going to share with you today. 

Topics: Proposal Sales