Training Tip Tuesday: What?! I Need to Prepare More Than a Proposal?
Congratulations! You have earned the opportunity to propose a solution to your Ideal Prospect, but no celebration yet! Now is the time to prepare for that meeting. Your preparations involve more than the proposal itself. Let’s look at the Pipeline Map to reframe where you have been and where you are in the sales process:
At The Communication Gym, our members model their business development activities according to this Ideal Client Pipeline Map. They understand that they must Qualify and Build Rapport or Discover and Build Credibility before proposing a solution. By the time our Member is ready to propose a solution, they have confirmed that the Prospect has a problem that they can solve, the Prospect’s timeline and budget align with our Member’s needs, and the Decision Maker has engaged in these conversations. Our Member has also spent the time learning about the needs of the Prospect and identifying the expected outcome of the proposed solution. Our Member has then communicated their understanding of the Prospect's needs and expectations and the Prospect has confirmed our Member’s understanding.
This in-depth process leads us to Stage 3, or Propose Solutions. This moment will lead to three possible outcomes: a new client, a potential future client, or a Nospect. Proposing a solution involves more than a service or product offer. Your proposal meeting should begin with 2 key components: a Level Playing Field and a Summary of Understanding. You will use your Summary of Understanding to reframe your proposal in terms of the 4 P’s you have already identified. [Read more about the 4 P’s here]
Beginning your proposal meeting with the Summary of Understanding is so important. You are confirming your understanding and accuracy of the 4 P’s and you want to make sure that nothing has changed since your discovery meeting in Stage 2. You don’t want to deliver a proposal that is no longer relevant to your Prospect! This manner of delivering your proposal will enhance the rapport and credibility you have already established.
Your Training Tip Plan for your next proposal meeting. In addition to having the proposal ready to go, answer these questions:
What is the purpose, the process, and the timeframe needed for this meeting?
Good morning and thank you for meeting with me today. We have set aside 45 minutes today to review the proposal my team has written for you. I will reserve time after my explanation for your questions. If you accept this proposal, I understand you are in the position to sign it today so we can begin implementing our services in the next two weeks. Am I correct?
What is your understanding of the problem this Prospect has asked you to remedy, the Pain it is causing them or their organization, what the positive outcome of solving this problem will be, and what it will mean to them personally?
Before we get into the details of the proposal, I want to take a few moments to summarize where we are and ensure that our solutions will meet your expectations and goals discussed when we last met. You shared with me that you spent $50,000 on cybersecurity software to deploy and manage in house. After the purchase, an attempt was made to set it up, but it was much more involved than you had planned. It required expertise and knowledge around the software itself which required vendor assistance. It still needs more finetuning and monitoring the alerts is not feasible with your current team. What you are looking for is an approved vendor that has expertise with the software to review where you are, set it up according to best practices, and provide ongoing monitoring services for you. This would allow your team to work in other areas while keeping your cybersecurity posture at a high level and utilize that $50,000 spent to its highest capability. Is that a correct summary of the problem we are aiming to solve for you?
Take our two examples and modify them for your next proposal meeting. And then practice those two statements. Think about the communication style(s) you will be speaking with. Use style-specific language (check out our blogs about using keywords with each of the DISC styles: D, I, S, C) and modify your own style accordingly.
Repeat them out loud, in front of a mirror, in the car, with a supportive partner.
If you’re interested in practicing with like-minded peers, join a professional practice group to work out your communication muscles. Read more here.