The final proposal – best and final offer

Befriending your buyerIn our last post, we talked about how your customer might bring in the big guns with Jack, and how you can mitigate that situation. Now that you’ve dealt with Jack, we’re most likely back to the original team, possibly with jack as an observer. You will probably be asked to come in for a final proposal with your “best and final offer.” Translation: “You better discount your price if you want our business.”

What happened to all the camaraderie that you built up with everyone? It’s out the window for now my friend. But don’t fret, after slushing through this process, your relationship will be right back on track – business is business after all.

At any rate, oblige them and go in for a presentation. Only we’re going to do it with a twist. All of your competitors are going to offer a price break and have a professional presentation bragging about how many divisions and people they have and showing all their glorious equipment with pictures taken at least ten years ago. You’re going to do something quite different.

Your sales presentation, in contrast, is going to be professional but understated. Your presentation is going to focus on what could go wrong during and after the project.

What? This probably goes against every fiber in your being. You should be boasting about how big and great you are and how happy they will feel with you. Why would you want to bring them down with a dreary presentation about everything that could go wrong? Because:

While you’re thinking of how great it will be to receive all that money, your prospect is thinking of how much she is sticking her neck out by spending all that money.

Put yourself in her shoes (and take off yours first). She has probably had nightmares about all the things that could go wrong and doesn’t want to talk about them. Ignoring them and hoping that they won’t happen is much easier than fleshing them out and dealing with them. But by you bringing them up and confidently displaying how you would deal with each situation, you will show experience and, more importantly, competence.

You can close with, “And as fro the best and final offer, that really what we originally presented to you. If you need me to shave 0.5% off to close the deal I can probably do that, but we came in with that offer to win this business and solve your needs, so we don’t really have any wiggle room.” Again, remember that anything you give up here will be the defacto norm for all future dealings with this company.

I once told a bully buyer that instead of honestly quoting work in the future, I would quote it higher so that I could subsequently discount it and make it look like he was doing his job. He promptly kicked me out. I’m now often welcomed back – and he’s not.

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