I don’t know when and where sales organizations decided it was a good idea to start using proposals as the primary means of presenting the cost of their solution but trust me… this is a NOT an effective approach.
My simple rule for delivering proposals is Don’t Surprise your Prospect. There should never be anything contained in your proposal that has not already been discussed with and agreed to by your prospect.
Stated differently, a proposal should represent the formal manifestation of everything you have already agreed to in principle.
No matter how good you think you are at writing proposals, they represent an extremely poor and ineffective vehicle for communicating information. Why would you delegate one of the most important components of the sales conversation to a piece of paper? A document can never communicate more effectively than a human being.
This principle is so basic and so important I can only assume that the reason it happens the wrong way so often is we lack the formal process to have this conversation. We know we need to have a conversation but we just don’t know how to have that conversation.
Well not anymore…
This morning I coached one of my clients through a Pre-Proposal Conversation and made sure to take copious notes.