From a buyer’s perspective, sellers often seem to be in a rush to move buying cycles along. If there is a single trait that separates A Players from B/C Players I would say it is patience.
That means not discussing products or offerings until a buyer’s needs have been established, but I also believe it applies to when proposals are issued. Many B/C Players view proposals as a step that moves opportunities forward.
A proposal should document and confirm the discussions sellers have had and provide buyers with everything needed to make buying decisions.
When there are multiple buyers in committee sales, sellers gain access to as many stakeholders as possible to help each of them understand the value that can be realized through the use of the offering being discussed.
A significant mistake sellers make is issuing proposals after discussions with just one person.
The other committee members may be given a copy of the quote or proposal, but how much of it will they read and understand? How many will go right to the end of the document and see the pricing and without any understanding of value and decide the price is too high?
Proposals do not sell and are a terrible way to introduce Key Players to a seller’s company and offerings.
So when should proposals be issued?
Proposals should be issued later in buying cycles and should have:
- A summary of desired business outcomes
- A summary of buyers’ needs
- A description of the capabilities needed
- An implementation plan (if appropriate)
- A description of professional services (if appropriate)
- A cost vs. benefit the buyer and seller have created
Often premature proposals languish in sellers’ pipelines. With every passing month the probability of getting the business wanes. A way to minimize the chances of this happening is to review a draft copy of a proposal before sending it out. This is good for buyers in that there will be no surprises in the final document. Sellers benefit because they can get the proposal right the first time.
By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®