Positioning Your Proposal

Here is a layer where you really begin to see the fruits of your labor from following our Sales Funnel Selling method over the majority of other sales philosophies being taught and practiced out there.

Solution Evaluation Layer

You can almost cut this layer completely out of the funnel all together. Your prospect already knows just about everything in your proposal. Heck, she helped write it. If she didn’t, please review the post “Developing Winning Sales Solutions.”

We’re going to continue working with Sally the Technical Consultant who is at the top of the technical pecking order within her company.

At this point in the process, you should be fairly confident that your proposal is going to be chosen as the winner. If you aren’t at least 75% sure, something went wrong somewhere along the trail.

You role now is to track the proposal and know who all is reviewing it and how much their input is worth. You should already have uncovered that information by following the previous articles. If not, you have some catch up work to do. But other than keeping tabs on the reviewing process and answering any last minute questions, this layer should be fairly painless.

The Waiting Game

Just because you’ve made connections with all the right people and your gut tells you that you’re proposal is exactly what they need and want doesn’t mean that in two days a purchase order will show up on your fax machine.

Oftentimes, someone in the review line wasn’t uncovered in the beginning. This is usually someone in the buying line, like a purchasing agent or, the even more fearful, purchasing manager. They know how to play hardball and don’t really care how close you and Sally the engineer have become.

It can be hard, very hard, not to rush in and try to push the proposal through; “But Mr. Purchasing Manager, Sally said that this is what you need.” Trust me, this won’t work, they will smell your desperation a mile away. Your attitude needs to be; “I’m sorry I didn’t include you in the earlier meetings Mr. Purchasing Manager, please feel free to ask me any questions that Sally can’t answer for you.” If you’ve done your job and started at the top of the pecking order with Sally, she will have some serious throw weight and Mr. Purchasing Manager will already be feeling the heat.

Stay detached from the process. By this I mean, after the initial call to check in, try to just sit and wait. If it’s near the end of your quarter, this can be drudgery – and the buyer knows it. Be cool, they have a deadline too. Let’s go through a basic step-by-step procedure.

Solution Evaluation Process Steps

  1. Get the prospect on the phone and tell them that you are clicking “Send” right now to submit your proposal and would like to remain on the line to make sure they get it and that it opens up – if they have the time to spare at that moment.
  2. After they say that they have received it, ask them if they mind opening it up to make sure each section is what they expected.
  3. Literally go through each section and get their buy off that it is what they expected. This includes price, delivery, and payment terms. There should be no surprises here, but you need to make sure that your contact is prepared to be the champion of your proposal in your absence.
  4. Ask when you could contact her again to see how the review process is going. You should already have a pretty good feel for who will review it, but you might not know how long this typically takes.
  5. Reinforce your willingness to answer any questions and volunteer to come out for a site visit to talk about the project.

While that all sounds fine and dandy, Sally and her buyer may only be the beginning of the chain of command that you need to wade through. Future posts and the article that accompanies this post delve into those details.

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