Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Partner Post: Don’t Send That Proposal Yet!

If you’re using Insightly, one of that ways you’re probably using it is to track and close deals. (That’s one of the best things about Insightly’s free plan - it does everything!)

Keeping track of your contacts is a handy feature in any CRM system, but it’s a means-to-an-end. CRM is how businesses get business deals done.

But, there’s one factor that stands between most sales professionals and a “Closed Won” opportunity - your proposal. And there are four questions that most sales professionals completely neglect to ask, resulting in the non-closing of their proposals.

1. “Why this quarter?” - One of the most basic implication questions that a sales professional can ask is the “Why Now?” question. If every stakeholder on your prospective customer’s team (usually 4 to 14 different people) can’t give a good reason that the project needs to happen this quarter, then you can press “pause.”

No need to be harsh and try to kill the deal. You can simply say, “It looks like we’re good on scoping for now. Since it does not look like the project is urgent, shall we schedule a final scoping meeting 12 weeks from now?”

Do not write this proposal.

2. “Which delivery date is best for your team - X,Y, or Z?” - The real goal of this question is not to find out the proposal delivery date. It’s to acquire information on any hidden decision-makers. This method comes from Alan Weiss’s Million Dollar Consulting Proposals.

By using a set proposal window (usually 48 or 72 hours), and offering the prospect a choice of dates to deliver it on, the prospect will often say something like, “Oh, gee, next Wednesday won’t work because my boss’s boss Randy is out on vacation.”

If you’ve never met with Randy before, then he’s the real economic decision-maker, and you’ve got some serious homework to do, before writing that proposal.

3. “Our decision-making team is me, my manager Bob and his manager Jennifer. Who’s on your decision-making team?” If the prospective customer does not want to tell you who is on their decision-making team, that’s a red flag. Don’t write that proposal.

Generally the prospective customer will give you an answer that includes one or two people that you have not heard of yet. Thank them profusely - they may have just saved a deal that you nearly lost. Then, track down those people that you have not met, and interview them about the project to gather feedback BEFORE writing that proposal.

4. “Our proposals come in a special format so your team can suggest changes and rev it with us if changes need to be made. Who on the team should be authorized to see the proposal and add comments to it?” - If you don’t know who will be reading and editing the proposal, then you’re missing information on the economic-decision-makers on your deal. Always learn this information before sending a proposal.

Once you're ready to send the deal to your prospect for signature.  What's the best way to do it?  Well Insightly is now integrated with the PandaDoc!  If you're an Insightly user, you can now have all of your Insightly contacts auto-synced (every 30 minutes) with PandaDoc.  For example, if you want to know:

- when each customer or prospective customer looks at your proposal
- how long they look at it for AND
- who has not looked at it

then give the Insightly/PandaDoc integration a try. It’s free to use, and you can even get more documents by telling a friend.  Speaking of winning proposals from PandaDoc … Why not get 3 free documents to start with (you can even get 3 more with a tweet). No credit card is required, and you’ll be up and running in minutes.

About the Author: Adam Metz is the author of Amazon #1 internet-marketing best-seller The Social Customer, and the VP of Business Development at PandaDoc. He’s a veteran sales executive who’s carried a million-plus sales quota for a Fortune 500 company (CDW) and run a sales channel for a Google Apps eco-system startup, UberConference.

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