What are some of the business proposal trends in 2019 that you’ve used and that have worked for your industry? Trends change so often that we have to keep track of all the changes to be in the loop because what’s new today may be old news tomorrow.
Adam Hempenstall has been in the web design business for almost 20 years. He started doing basic websites and brochure sites before the company transitioned into a custom software company. They started building CRMs for different companies and have now invested full time into improving their proposal tool known as Better Proposals.
The most important thing is that you’re not just seeing a transition from the old school PDF method but the clients’ reluctance to change. There is, however, a massive shift towards people opening proposals using their phones.
Proposals need to be web-based these days. It has to do with what everything else is doing. They’re not just documents anymore, they’re experiences. Clients should be able to read the proposals by the time that you’ve sent them.
Aside from that, proposals should be sent quickly. Based on the observed data, there’s a higher rate of conversion for proposals that are sent within 24 hours compared to proposals sent in 3-4 days. The other important thing is trying to understand your client most.
From the data and stats Adam’s company is running, they’ve observed the following business proposal trends in 2019 that work:
People favor convenience over quality. This is apparent in the number of people watching videos on YouTube instead of going to the shows. Live shows mean better quality but people would opt to watch it on YouTube because it means that they can watch it immediately.
People want things the way they want them. For example, you’ve sent a proposal and the client is reading it in his train ride because that’s the time that he allocated for it. The client is not going to sit there and zoom in through the 15-page PDF proposal you’ve sent. That is not convenient for him. He’s probably going to skim, get bored, and close it down. He’ll make the decision over the price and all that effort of making the proposal is going down the drain because you’ve sent it in a format that isn’t convenient for him.
To beat your competitors, you want to stand out when you’re sending proposals. You don’t want to send the same ones that others are sending. This is especially true if you’re selling software, marketing, or anything with digital elements. You want to show your prospects that you are at the forefront of technology.
If you tell your prospective clients that you can make their website better and more responsive, you won’t send them a proposal in PDF form. Instead, you send them a web-based proposal and put a tracker in it.
This will allow you to see the activities that your prospective client is doing. You’d see that your client has opened the proposal and that he’d spent a good amount of time reading it.
You can give him a call half an hour later to just check in on how it was. You’re in a good place to speak about it because it’s still fresh on his mind.
You can’t do that with PDFs but you can do it if you use web-based proposals.
Adam and his team made a high-end proposal for a furniture company. The proposal was great but they didn’t have another meeting with them. After six months, the company randomly opened the proposal and Adam got a notification that they checked the proposal. Adam shoots them a quick message just asking how things are going and if they were able to find a solution to the problem that they were trying to solve last year. The company replied saying that they weren’t able to appreciate the value of the proposal then but are now willing to talk about it.
This is what tracking can do; this is what a notification can do.
It’s equally important to repeatedly follow up after a proposal, but not up to the point that you’re putting it on them.
Just being there and being consistent is enough.
We’ve all had a time where we’ve completed a proposal quickly and had a good overturn deal. There have also been times that we’ve procrastinated and done other stuff instead of doing the proposal and when you’ve finally done it, your client has already gone with the other guy.
Adam’s company looked at the actual data of real proposals that people send through their software platform a few years back. Using the raw numbers, they tried to figure out different factors that affect proposal conversion. You can see the study on betterproposal.io/reports in both 2018 and 2019. They found out that sending the proposal within 24 hours after the initial meeting converts 25% more than if you send it in 2-3 days.
In Adam’s company, they meet their clients on a neutral ground. They have their meetings in top-end hotel lobbies because it’s comfortable and you can talk to the prospective client freely. When he leaves, you get to stay, order yourself another drink and write the proposal right then and there. It gets difficult when you give it a few more days because by then you remember very little of the meeting.
All those little things that you forget from the meeting were important to the client and if you wait more days before you write the proposal will lose you the deal eventually.
These include the following:
All those things that you remember within a couple of hours will be forgotten within a day.
Write your proposal immediately after your sales meeting to increase the chances you’ll win the deal. #SalesProposal
This part doesn’t have anything to do with the proposals. It is more of what happens before the proposal, and it’s doing good discovery.
You can’t write a good business proposal for a person or a company if you don’t do good discovery. You can have the experience but that will only help you so far. You need to ask questions and you need to dig in and get them to reveal as much as they can.
You need to understand what they are trying to achieve.
Scratch beneath their surface-level problems to figure out their fears and help them find the solutions. You’re changing the proposal into a personal level and by then, it’s not only the surface-level solutions of the problems you’re proposing.
You are sending them a proposal that truly addresses their deeper concerns.
Care about them, care about the situation, and do what you can to get the truth of their situation.
So, ask the right questions and don’t be afraid to get a little bit uncomfortable.
Trying out the three suggestions mentioned above will make your proposals better. Instead of sending PDFs, send a web-based proposal and save yourself lots of time. It’s also convenient and it’s a conversion booster. Aside from that, web-based proposals are cheap.
Sign up to Better Proposals website and see hundreds of templates. They also have contracts and other things you can check.
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Is it possible to have a “perfect day” in sales? Phone calls from prospects just as soon as you walk into the office … demonstrations are set … proposal reviews are awesome; everything is smooth sailing.
What would it take to have that perfect day in sales? Do we have control over any of the elements? I think so.
In this episode of The Sales Evangelist, I will share something valuable that I learned over the weekend that can help us all accomplish the perfect day in sales. [0:00]
There was an awesome older lady in our congregation who recently passed away. During the eulogy, her daughter shared a story about her mom who was, apparently, quite a perfectionist.
She always looked great. Everything was always on point.
One day when the daughter was leaving for school, the mother noticed that the daughter had only ironed the front side of her skirt. As the daughter explains, she didn’t see any reason to iron the back of the skirt because she was going to be sitting down at school, nobody was going to see it. It just didn’t matter.
Her mother disagreed and told her, “Perfection is not an accident.” [02:46]
She was right. If you want something to work out well, it isn’t going to happen by accident. The perfect job, the perfect marriage – the perfect day in sales – do not happen by accident. You have to do something to make it work.
None of us will be perfect but we can get close. We can get results if we put in the work.
Michael Phelps, for example, imagined in his mind the perfect swim meet before every competition. He knew what it would feel like to win – to have the perfect race. He practiced for perfection and it is no accident that he became the best swimmer in the world. [03:33]
Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Usain Bolt, Mother Teresa … They are all arguably the best in their chosen fields because they put in the work.
Imagine the most amazing appointments and demonstrations on the schedule. Proposal reviews, closing calls, deals closing left and right … It can happen. It won’t be perfect, maybe a few will need to reschedule, but it will be pretty darn close. [04:56]
Certainly, you’ve noticed the sellers in your organization who always seem to have the perfect day; everything always seems to work out for them. How do they do it?
They are prepared. They know that the perfect day in sales will not happen by accident.
Do all you can now to have appointments for next month. Maybe that means going early to the office to respond to the leads that came in overnight and get ahead of the competition. Make the calls. Make the follow-ups.
Do the work so the results will come. The perfect day in sales will come.
It takes time and it takes sacrifice. You have to be willing to sacrifice the ‘now’ to earn enjoyment later. [05:25]
I could spend my entire lunch break chit-chatting with my buddies in the break room every day, or I could give up one or two of those days and focus on returning emails or reaching out to folks on LinkedIn instead. [06:40]
We just published our 1,000th episode. That is five years worth of content and we’ve been fortunate to be covered by Huffington Post, Hubspot, and Entrepreneurial Magazine.
Some people might think that we just got lucky. But in truth, it happened because we put in the work. When this first started, I also worked a full-time day job.
I used my lunch break to schedule podcast interviews. Then, I would find park my car near a spot with good WiFi and record interviews with my guests over Skype.
I could have easily decided that it was too time-consuming or too much work. I could have chosen to hang with my buddies over lunch. Instead, I made the necessary sacrifices and it paid off. [07:04]
As a salesman, I became of the top performers in my company. Again, not because I was lucky or because management liked me more.
It was because I went to work early, I studied the sales content, I understood the sales process. I learned from the different departments and I made sure I knew what was happening in the industry.
To educate myself, I studied past deals and read case studies. I knew what the directors wanted and I knew what my competition was doing. I called more people and set more appointments. [08:26]
My company and my podcast aren’t perfect but we are striving for it every day. We put in the work towards reaching the perfect result, the perfect company, the perfect podcast.
Put in the hustle. This is not a New Year’s Resolution type thing that lasts a few months. It has to be a desire. You have to want to achieve the perfect day in sales.
If you don’t know where to start, look for the people in your group that are succeeding and ask them for advice. If you can’t find anyone like that, come to me. I am always more than happy to share what I’ve done, what I see clients do, how I help people, etc. [09:07]
It is going to take work. It is going to take sacrifice.
Thank you to Evelyn Terry. She was an amazing woman. Perfection doesn’t come by accident. Evelyn left a legacy and a fire burning.
This episode is brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.
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Writing proposals is one of the many critical challenges that every salesperson may have to face. Even a significant amount of time has to be allotted solely in writing proposals to ensure you’re doing everything right.
So we welcome back Curtis McHale here on the show today. He first guested on the show back in episode 92. He recently finished a book about Writing Proposals that Win, which is the focus of our discussion today.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Curtis:
Biggest mistakes people make with proposal writing:
The six-part process of writing proposals:
Use their words to describe their problem.
Think tactically and strategically that by the end of the project, you will have a lead generation funnel. Focus on 2-5 high points that focus on the desired outcome.
Give three options. Option one should always fulfill the basics of the project. It allows the prospect to decide which option best suits the value for their business. 3/4 of that decision is now around you versus your competitor.
Your options could be around the timeline.
Give the prospect your contact information (contact form, email address, and phone number) and let the user decide what’s best for them. This sends a message to your prospect that you’re real.
The phone call process:
Other things to keep in mind when making your proposal:
Have a plan to put yourself into the driver’s seat.
Make sure you’re talking to the decision maker.
Make your payment process really easy in the end.
Curtis’ Major Takeaway:
The slower you go, the less work you’re doing to write a proposal because you win more trust from the client.
Connect with Curtis on www.curtismchale.ca
TSE Episode 92 with Curtis McHale (Take a look at Curtis’ sample email template)
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