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February 17, 2015

The Number One Reason Your Sales Team Writes Practice Proposals

What is a practice proposal?  Practice proposals are those time-consuming documents created for prospects with no intention of doing business with your company.  This can be the prospect that buys on price, not value.  Or, the prospect that doesn’t really have any pain, however, thinks it’s always a good idea to take a look at what’s out there.  (Yawn…..)

So how does this price shopping or ‘content with current vendor’ prospect end up in the sales pipeline?  It could be a lack of hard-selling skills or sales experience.   It’s usually due to a lack of assertiveness, a soft skill. 

When the price shopping prospect asks the salesperson to “put something together,” non-assertive salespeople go along to get along and invest time in writing proposals they have no hope of winning.  They avoid rocking the sales boat and avoid truth-telling conversations such as, “It sounds like the main decision criteria for your organization is price, and we aren’t the low-priced provider.  My firm probably needs to bow out….even though we would like your business.”   

Assertive salespeople are comfortable stating what they need because they know win-win relationships are just that—both parties win.    With the “it’s always a good idea to look prospect,” the assertive salesperson might say something like this.  “Ms. Prospect.  I really appreciate the opportunity to bid on this work.  However, I haven’t really heard enough reasons for you to switch from your current vendor….is there something I’m missing?” 

Examine the proposals in your sales pipeline and do some serious reality testing.   Did you write proposals to go along to get along?  Do you have evidence that your prospect is committed to changing vendors or improving their current situation? 

Stop going along to get along.  Good business is a win-win scenario.  Get assertive, be nice and ask for what you need. 

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