Are Proposals Losing You Business? 3 Crucial Strategies To Stay In Control

June 23, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

It might be that you are great at meetings. You know how to make people feel welcomed, laugh at their jokes, and close a deal on the spot. But what happens when that prospect walks away? For many business owners, the end of a deal presents itself when things are no longer face-to-face – when you can no longer cajole, negotiate, or barter your way through conversation. Instead, you are judged on your proposal or marketing collateral alone. Do you often lose a deal when prospects ask you to send a proposal or one sheet? This happens when the impression you rendered in a meeting does not match the collateral sent. Here are three things you can do about it.

The Big “B”. Don’t fall prey to the mistake of most business owners and ask your prospects, “What budget did you have in mind?” It’s a big NO-NO. Instead, be the authority and tell them what it is going to take to do this right. If they don’t want to do it right (and they insist on a price cut), stand your ground. I know, this sounds crazy – think of all the business that will walk away! But, think also of the message that this sends. You are the expert, telling someone how to do it right and at what cost. Your conversion rate might go up, but your clients will now be paying you your value. Wasn’t that the goal all along?

You’re Not Proposing To Yourself. It’s been said over and over, yet most business owners don’t take the advice. Never ever write copy about you – it’s all about your customers, all the time. If your proposal addresses why your company is best suited to do the work, but doesn’t expand on how or why this affects your customer, then you’re dead in the water.

ABOUT “ME” EXAMPLE: Our company has access to a multitude of marketing resources.

ABOUT “THEM” EXAMPLE: Our company has access to a multitude of marketing resources, so you can rest assured we’ll get the job done by experts in the industry.

It’s Delivery, Not DiGiorno. A prospect has asked you for a proposal, and you have taken the time to write what you believe will be the successful solution to their problem. You’ve outlined the timeline, method, and budget. You’ve used your expertise to craft what you believe is the way of moving forward. Now, given the fact that your prospect has probably never worked in your industry, how are they supposed to understand your recommendation? If you send proposals without walking your prospects through them, this is what happens: They scroll right down to the price line. And, you’ve just positioned yourself as a commodity. Instead, call prospects when your proposal is ready, and ask them when they would have 10 minutes to review your proposal with you. Send the proposal only once you are on the phone with them and explain: “I wanted to take the time to walk you through this proposal so that you could see why we are recommending this method as a way forward, and take the opportunity to answer any questions you may have.” You’ll be positioning yourself as a reliable expert who didn’t just whip something up at random.

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