Before I started my sales training business I worked in a corporate environment and during that time had the opportunity to review many sales proposals for a variety of products and services. Since then, I have had the good fortune (or misfortune in most cases) to read dozens more and I’m still under-whelmed by most of them. Most of the proposals I read make the same fundamental mistakes. Here are ten strategies you can use to ensure that your proposal stands out from your competitors.
Go Back to Basics. You remember what that means: It is doing the activities you did when you first got started that gave you results. One of them was staying on the phones until you made a connection, booked an appointment or made a sale. Great sales people instinctively know they must spend time “dialing for dollars” to existing and potential customers to get out of a negative sales period. If there aren’t enough incoming calls, there must not be enough going out! So if your phone’s not ringing ask yourself: How many calls am I making? If your phone is quiet, it was because you’re not making enough calls.
Another week passed, another review session. I walked in prepared to answer the 5 original questions, the 5 new questions, and how I was going to win every deal in my pipeline. Perhaps my swagger walking into her office betrayed me. I sat down, she said she wanted to review a specific opportunity, I knew I had all the answers. She asked me 5 questions–you guessed it, they were 5 newer questions. We didn’t even bother with the first 10. She knew I had the answers. She knew that I had tuned my strategies and better focused them. She wanted to go another layer deeper. She wanted me to tune the strategy even more, she wanted me to think more deeply about what I was doing and how I could win.
There is nothing in that process I need to hide. The customer could come to my insurance sales training and actually feel better about buying from me. I don’t manipulate or cajole. I’m not slick or smooth. I don’t try anything I wouldn’t do with wife, parents or grandparents.
Has that ever happened to you? I’m sure it has if you’ve been in sales for any period of time. It certainly has happened to me until I understood the one step I was missing, which I’m going to share with you now.
We get to our first appointment and forget to properly structure our opening remarks and establish the agenda. The first “concern” comes up and we can identify it as a misunderstanding, but what were those steps on how to respond? If only I could play that video back in my head, or visualize the wall chart at this very moment.
Consider this, no matter how difficult your current situation may be, everyone who perished in the World Trade Center would, if given the chance, be willing to trade places with any of us.