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Time is money and everyone is late. That means no one is worth what they are charging. You must show that you understand and can make target dates with ease. Your client may have many times cost of your product or service resting on this deal. They may be much less concerned about your price than your timing.
6. Value Statement
Here is tough one. How do you articulate your value to client in proposal? First, you ask loads of questions. Second, you work with them to build a success scenario early in discussions. Lastly, you use their numbers to make case. This section should be as numeric as possible and tied directly to client’s bottom line. Statements like, “Based on your assessment that improved information systems of this type will improve output by 10%, this system will pay back $1.9 Million in first year and $34.5 million over next 5 years.” Done correctly, value dwarfs fee and makes your price a non-issue.
The value case is one case that hidden buyers always jump on. They ask, “Is this worth it?” and “How are we going to pay for this?” If your value case is missing, you are at mercy of person standing there in room to make your sales presentation for you. If you weren’t scared before, you should be now. With a strong case in proposal, you have a prayer of winning day.
The Value Process is detailed in my book “The Team Selling Solution: Creating and Managing Teams That Win Complex Sales” (McGraw-Hill, 2004). It is now available on audio CD and hardcopy at: http://www.waterhousegroup.com/books/theteamsellingsolution.html
7. The Details
Ok, somewhere in here you must detail deliverables, price, terms and conditions. Once again, these should not be surprises since you worked them out long before you wrote proposal. I love clients who say, “Send me a proposal.” I say, “How about if we talk it through right now and then I’ll send you a summary of our agreement.” No one ever objects and I get benefit of hearing their reaction to my offerings.
So why did you lose that deal? Because you forgot that proposals need to be stand-along sale presentations, not simply pre-invoices. Think of it this way: If proposal I outlined above was sitting next to yours, and client had never talked with either company, who do you think has best chance of winning?
Make your proposal sell and you’ll be building an insurance policy behind every deal you close.
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Stephen Waterhouse is Principal and Founder of Waterhouse Group. They specialize in helping companies increase their sales and profits. He can be reached at 1-800-57-LEARN or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Stephen Waterhouse is Principal and Founder of Waterhouse Group. They specialize in helping companies increase their sales and profits.