Avoid Making These Five Proposal Mistakes
Explained Gardner, “In my work as an international sales consultant, I am seeing the typical proposal success rates for services providers declining – often to single-digit levels. Such a high failure rate is demoralizing, since most proposals take a great deal of time, effort and energy. The good news is that there are specific ways to improve.”
Many of the mistakes Gardner sees companies making can be avoided by changing how a proposal is utilized in the sales process. Here are five mistakes to avoid:
Emailing proposals to people you barely know. “Sales research is clear – proposals that are presented are more successful than those that are sent,” said Gardner. “You say your prospect asked you to send it? Of course he did; that way he won’t have to look you in the eye and say no!”
Proposing too soon. “Just because someone asks for a proposal, that doesn’t mean you have to write one,” said Gardner. “Sometimes their asking can simply be seen as a sincere expression of interest, and an opportunity for you to begin working hard to understand their situation, their options, and how you might be of help.”
Rotten follow-up. “Don’t assume that your proposal is being discussed just because you have delivered it to your prospect. It’s up to you to get your prospect to pay attention,” said Gardner. What’s an optimal interval for follow-up on a proposal? Typically no more than four business days, and usually sooner.
Relying on email to learn more. Email isn’t a bad thing, but it also doesn’t go far toward helping your prospect trust you. When you’re reaching out to a prospect, pick up the phone – or make a visit if at all possible.
Thinking that your proposal will be read. “We know that, often, only the Executive Summary and the price may actually be read, so that makes your Executive Summary crucial,” said Gardner. “Put yourself in your reader’s shoes, and think about what they most want to know. Put that first.”
Gardner brings her “Proposal Process Excellence” workshop to businesses worldwide, with an update on selling skills that repeatedly earns organizations the highest ROI on any training effort ever!
Lenann McGookey Gardner is a sales consultant who helps professionals who sell services, or product-and-service combinations, achieve never-before-seen sales success. A Harvard MBA and 2010 “Top Performing CEO” award winner, Gardner has worked with professionals on five continents to help them get more clients and drive new revenue. Winner of the American Marketing Association’s Professional Services “Marketer of the Year” award, Gardner is the author of Got Sales? The Complete Guide to Today’s Proven Methods for Selling Services, which was nominated for the Axiom Business Book Award as the best sales book of the year. She is also an Executive Coach. Learn more at www.YouCanSell.com.
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Contact InformationLenann McGookey Gardner
Title: President/Executive Coach
Lenann McGookey Gardner Management Consulting, Inc.
11024 Montgomery Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111
Alt. Phone: 505-250-3355