The Selling Newsletter
*A free monthly newsletter of ideas to help make your selling easier*
Selling is the easiest job in the world…Just ask anyone who is NOTin sales!
My mission is to help make it easier for you to sell.
Best wishes for YOUR successful selling—Maura
“Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” *
Jeanne Johnson Phillips
Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris
*(Doesn’t that sound like selling?…Maura)
THE SELLING IDEAS FOR THIS MONTH
A PERFECT PROPOSAL
“A sales proposal doesn’t have to be good; it just has to be perfect,” says Bob Kantin, founder of Salesproposals.com and author of Sales Proposals Kit for Dummies. If you write sales proposals to get new business, here’s what you can consider to make your next one perfect so you can increase your closing ratio.
The Average Sales Proposal. Kantin says most companies have a disconnect with the sales and proposal development processes. Ideally, the proposal should be developed from customer information gathered during a consultative sales process. This enables you to write a proposal that is specific to the customer. Kantin says that even if companies are using the consultative selling approach and gathering customer information, they still produce boilerplate proposals which don’t reflect a customer’s unique business and operations.
He adds that most proposals are visual disappointments. Some companies invest large sums of money in consistent looks for websites and brochures. Yet they allow sales professionals to create proposals that look amateurish. Kantin points out that most people aren’t proficient in their word processing systems such as Microsoft Word. They are unable to create a visual style using Word’s most powerful elements like styles, titles and an automated table of contents. Kantin observes, “It’s not the website or brochure that will close the business for you. It’s your sales proposal that will.”
Many proposals lack an ROI calculation which shows the dollar benefits of buying the product or service and shows the customer what’s in it for them. The lack of an ROI calculation indicates to Kantin that the sales staff is not selling consultatively.
Thy must include…and why. Kantin says that there are five sections in a winning proposal. They are interrelated and customer-focused. They categorize information and provide a logical sequence of information and ideas.
These five main proposal sections are: 1. Background Information (Buyer’s current situation with an unresolved problem or unachieved opportunity.) You must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the buyer’s business, particularly the improvement opportunity. 2. Proposed Solution (Clearly presents the buyer-specific product or service application which will add value for the customer.) This gives the customer a compelling reason to make a change. 3. Implementation Management (Discusses your company’s methods, steps and phases for implementing the proposed product or service.) Your project plan indicates that you have thoroughly thought through the how, who, and when. 4. Seller Profile (Your Company’s qualifications and business practices.) This explains to the decision maker, who may not know you, why you’re the one with whom to do business. 5. Business Issues (Contains all business-related items for ease of review and reference such as fees/prices, expenses, and invoicing schedule). By grouping all business-related items, it is easier for the customer to review the proposal. This content also avoids buyer surprises after the sale.
Missed Opportunities. Kantin adds that even the title in most cases is a missed opportunity to sell. Most authors use the most simple and boring title for the proposal. Kantin says, “The title is an opportunity to focus the buyer’s attention by identifying the buyer’s improvement opportunity. It also gives you a chance to be creative and demonstrate what you have to offer. Which would you rather read? A proposal titled ‘Acme Personality Profile Testing’ or ‘Reducing Employee Turnover though Acme Personality Profile Testing?’”
If you write sales proposals to get new business, you have lots to think about as you prepare the document that will sell for you. To make it easier for sales professionals, Kantin developed Sales Proposal Builder which is an internet- based enterprise subscription service. Kantin says, “A well written sales proposal can really distinguish you from competition and get you business. You know you’ve written one when a customer says to you, ‘This is exactly what I want’.” This is exactly what you want to hear.
SELLING ACTION ITEM
1. Prepare your questions before your next sales call so you can ask the questions you will need to generate a sales proposal that sells.
2. Visit https://www.salesproposals.com/
I’m always looking for success stories and other tips from sales professionals. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas that have worked for you. To thank you, you’ll receive a free subscription to The Selling E-Letter™, a bi-monthly selling newsletter. ($50 value)
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Maura Schreier-Fleming works with business and sales professionals to make it easier to sell more and be more productive at work. Her clients want to create long-term client relationships. They include Fujitsu, Fannie Mae and Dr Pepper/7UP. She has an M.S. in Textile Engineering from Georgia Tech and was Mobil Oil’s first female lubrication engineer in the U.S. With over 20 years of sales experience, she teaches the art and science of selling with a unique hands-on perspective and a great deal of real-life insight. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results. Her business column ‘Selling Strategies’ appears in the Insurance Record magazine. You can contact her for seminars at company or trade association meetings at 972 380 0200 or info@BestatSelling.com
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