Me a Proposal"
Chris Lytle on Proposals
Wow, they must be serious -- they want to see a proposal. You'll
think differently after you check out this advice.
Here are four words you really don't want to hear: "Send me a
If you have made a good presentation and the prospect has a problem
you can solve, then you want the prospect to write you a check. That
would be a better outcome than going back to your desk and writing
a proposal, wouldn't it?
Too many salespeople stop selling as soon as a prospect says, "Send
me a proposal." They take it is a buying signal and believe they
have had a "great call." Whenever a salesperson tells me,
it was a "great call," I know instantly that he didn't get
"Send me a proposal" is either a buying signal or a stall.
In either case, a prospect's saying those four words is not a reason
to abort the conversation, pack up your briefcase and drive back to
your office. Not without asking a few more questions.
How I saved myself from a writing assignment
I sell sales training. I am on the phone with a person I haven't done
business with for ten years. I have just shown him my latest plan
for developing his team of salespeople. He is excited about The Automatic
Sales Improvement Process I have just presented to him. It's a way
for his sales managers to run more powerful sales meetings. His top
sales guy is on the conference call and is also supportive.
I should add that it's a $4860 decision, which in this prospect's
world is relatively minor.
But then, my prospect says, "Send me a proposal on this."
"That's not a problem," I said. "I can lay out the
terms and conditions in writing. You have seen everything I offer.
Do you think it will help?"
"Yes, it definitely gives us some consistency in developing our
"And you have, or can find, the money?" I asked.
"If you can give me a couple of payments in the $1,900 range,
I can keep this off the corporate radar. I can sign off on it."
"Then, do you need a proposal or should I just send an invoice?"
"Send the invoice. We'll go ahead with it," he said.
With three more questions, I saved myself another writing assignment,
solved my prospect's problem and closed a sale.
Have you ever written a proposal you didn't have to write? Worse yet,
have you ever worked for hours on a proposal and, then, had the prospect
quit taking your calls or responding to your e-mails?
"Send me a proposal" are four words that you don't want
to hear. If you do hear them, ask enough questions so you know what
they really mean.
The one that got away
I believe you learn as much from your failures as your successes.
Most sales trainers don't want to admit they don't close them all.
Let me share this failure and see if you can relate.
I guess I shocked a group of prospects recently. In the middle of
a conference call, I said to them, "I give up." They were
putting up a lot resistance to what I was proposing. There were three
of them and I could feel that I was merely starting to argue instead
of selling or solving their problem.
"Uncle," I said. It's okay if you don't want to buy this.
I give up."
It is interesting to observe what happens when you reject a prospect
before they reject you. One person on the call told me I couldn't
quit, thus starting a new argument. I opted out. I felt bad that I
couldn't convince them and good that I stopped trying to force the
That morning, I had called another person who was "too busy"
to talk to me even though we had a calendar appointment. "I understand,'
I said. "Do you want me to quit calling you completely? It is
not my intent to bother you or waste your time." This prospect
"opted in" and we have another calendar meeting in a week.
Pursuing someone who doesn't want to be pursued is stalking. I think
there are laws about that.
Have you ever rejected a prospect before they rejected you?
Have you ever asked a prospect if they wanted to "opt out"
of the process?
You don't have to close every deal to be successful. If a deal is
not right for both of you, it's okay to walk away.
Chris Lytle is a Chicago-based information entrepreneur who has
cracked the code on delivering sales development ideas that move the
needle. He would be happy to discuss The Automatic Sales Improvement
Process with you. Call him at 773-278-2728. Or visit his site at:
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