For some reason, discussing money is the major hurdle. Yesterday I had several sales calls with potential buyers. One example stands out… We had discussed the need, talked about options, come to a conclusion on next steps, and even picked dates to begin. My prospect then said, “Send me a proposal with some options and pricing.”
I was tempted to agree, but then that little voice reminded me of Mahan Kalsa’s book, Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play (which I highly recommend). Why would we wait for the proposal to agree on options and pricing. Paper doesn’t sell, I do. We have verbal agreement on the vision, but no specifics. Why waste time and possibly ruin the opportunity by putting the wrong thing down on paper?
Instead I simply said, “Let’s review some options right now and make sure we are in agreement on how to proceed.” I verbally gave him my interpretation of what we were planning to do, offered a couple of options, restated the value, and then offered a fixed fee. I then said, “How does that sound to you?” He said, “That sounds great.” Now I can write the proposal, which is now really an agreement, with confidence. I converted it to a PDF, attached it to an email, and wrote, “Here is exactly what we agreed to.” The likelihood of closing this kind of agreement is much higher than the elusive agreements made in most sales meetings. Meetings end without any real commitment, and the request for proposal is often just a polite way of ending the meeting. There is no agreement, and there are no specifics from which to craft the proposal. In the end, this type of proposal goes nowhere, leaving the sales person to forecast at 50%. In other words, I have no idea…
© 2011, David Stelzl