October '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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12 || P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Custom- er Satisfaction Is Worthless Customer Loyalty Is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Get - ting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, SELLING SMART B Y J E F F R E Y G I T O M E R and Social BOOM!. His website,, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at ''S ounds good, send me a proposal." How many times have you heard that? Too many. When this happens, you likely run back to your office, put together a proposal, send it to the prospect, and start the follow-up process. Or do you? In reality, the sale should be solidified before the proposal is writ- ten. Your proposal should be the essence of what has been decided by you and your prospect. It should solidify the sale. WINNING NUMBERS How many proposals do you win––how many do you lose? If you lose way more proposals than you win, it's much more than just the proposal. It's the proposal process. Count the wins. Count the losses. That's your scorecard. When you win proposals, how profitable are they? Are you tell- ing your boss, "Hey, let's go in real low on this one so we can get the business, and then six months from now, boy, we can really lose some money!" Once you lower the price, customers expect a low price all the time. Propos- als are there because buyers think they'll get the lowest price or the best deal by pitting one company against the other. Your job is to make yourself a winner before the proposal happens by creat- ing conditions or terms that preclude others from either bidding or winning. The first thing you need to do is determine if it's a price proposal or a value proposal. If they're going to take the lowest price only, you're going to lose even if you win, because the lowest price is the lowest profit. It may even be for no profit. The challenge is whether you can create a profitability formula or a productivity formula, measured against what you do, that sets a standard for the proposal—a formula that your competition must meet or exceed regardless of initial price. You need to convince your buyer that there's a long-term cost, not simply a short-term price. Are they buying your price only––taking the lowest bid? If so, they only need a one sentence proposal, and you don't need me. Instead, don't do it at first. When someone asks me for a proposal, the first thing I say to them is no. That always shocks people. I ask the person if they were taking notes. They say, "Yes." I say, "Well, let me just sign the notes." I continue by saying, "All we need to do is pick a date to begin." About 30 percent of the time the prospect will say, "You're right." The other 70 percent of the time, the prospect will insist on a proposal. But, I've just won 30 percent of the business without sub- mitting a paper. And there's a reason for this. I have sales gumption. Proposals exist to lower the risk to the buyer, and potentially lower the cost. But in the final analysis, many proposals can be eliminated if your prospect feels that your price is fair and that their risk is low. If the risk is low and the reward is high, the answer is always obvious. Before the decision is made, it's impor- tant to your customer that they know what your product or service will be like after it's delivered. This will take away all risks and all fear. And it may also take away the price-only decision process. Winning proposals are solidified by dynamic sales presentations. Proposals should be the solidifying factor, not the sales pitch. The proposal should docu- ment what has been said and agreed upon. The proposal should confirm the sale and all the claims you made about it. Does yours? Your proposal process is not a regurgitation of your price list. It is not a document to see how much of your profit you can give away. It is not something you prepare to beat the competition. Your proposal is a gateway to earned business. It solidifies a value- driven sales presentation that begins or extends a relationship where everyone profits. The minute you lowball a price, you've gone from a relationship sale to transactional sale, and the next person who lowballs your price will beat you, and beat themselves. Don't just win the proposal. Win the value. Win the profit. And win the relationship! Here's a Proposition…Focus on the Sale! The proposal and the sale are miles apart

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