Really, don’t send proposals!
So much time, money and effort is wasted on proposals!
Stop doing proposals!
Many salespeople and organizations seem to be in the proposal business and it is a very big signal that an effective sales process does not exist!
This is what happens.
Scenario One: A salesperson contacts a prospect and because the seller does not have an effective sales process the salesperson quickly runs onto rough ground. As soon as the client begins to push back then the salesperson offers to send a proposal, ‘To outline what we can do for your organization.’
This is crap and a waste of time.
Rather watch than read?
At best, the salesperson is weak and without resources to sell effectively and at worse they are time-wasting and looking for ‘leads’ to fill the pipeline. All the effort and activity looks like work, the pipeline is full of ‘proposals’ and so the salesperson is doing the job!
Scenario Two: A salesperson is diligent and chasing a prospect but because the salesperson has not been effectively trained or simply hopeful they cannot pick up on the signals that should tell the salesperson they are wasting their time and they should move on!
The prospect facing a doggedly sincere order chaser lacks the will to tell them ‘not interested.’ And so requests a proposal. The desperate salesperson runs off and spends an afternoon writing an award-winning proposal that will never be read.
Either way the pipeline is filled.
The problem with this pipeline is that it is really filled with… well, let’s just call it a sewer line!
The Correct Scenario: If a prospect is interested then close them! Invest in a relationship! Get agreement with the decision maker on what will be delivered and at what price and then the proposal can be sent in the form of an invoice.
I never send proposals – well, almost never, and when I do they are never more than an email outlining what was discussed.
Realistically, there are business environments that require costly proposals but before entering into this game be certain that you have had as much access to the decision makers as any other competitor.
Most serious projects that go to proposal are decided beforehand, to be awarded to someone with a relationship, and the proposal is just part of the process.
Make sure you’re not on the losing end of that game!