I propose you STOP sending quotes. Itʼs just a bigger word for this one; Bid. A different word for this one; Price.
After meeting with a potential buyer too often, the meeting ends with the following “Thank you for your time today Mr. Customer, Iʼll get you a quote in the next (insert timeline here).” Even worse; many salespeople feel a sense of accomplishment having gotten that far in the sales cycle—thinking they have done their job!
It doesnʼt matter if your quote is in an email attachment, PDF, Powerpoint, Word or Excel document. The word quote is transactional, and just another word for Price. As in “Hereʼs my price.” No value, no extras, no subtle nuance. Nothing more—just a price. Another quote from another ordinary salesperson. So vanilla that all things being equal the buyer is left to make their decision based on the lowest price. Is it yours? Are you going to quote your way to success, or become the low price leader?
Proposal. Now thereʼs a word with some GUTS. Guts as in; I proposed to my wife. I didnʼt quote her. Guts as in; “Mr. Customer, based on my understanding of what youʼre trying to accomplish, here is what I propose. Here are the benefits of ownership and the return on your investment”. A statement like that, a winning statement, is going to show some commitment, some guts, and has a far better chance of being taken seriously—a better chance of being given some real consideration. So, we have two different words with different meanings, yet we have allowed them to become interchangeable. Here are two simple changes to make in how you propose:
Communicate The Value
Dollarize as many points as you can. Far too often proposals get treated like quotes and bids because the buyer jumps to the end. Eager to get to the “Bottom line” a buyer will go to the price page and just compare it to all the other quotes and bids without the benefit of considering their return on investment. You have to assign a dollar value or cost to their problem and to your solution. If the total return (what they get) is higher than the total investment (your price), you have a shot. In the absence of communicating value your buyer is left to make their purchasing decisions based on price.
Summarize Your Proposal
You may be forced to use a standard quote, or bid format when responding to RFP’s (Request for Proposal) or RFQ’s (Request for Quote)—this is a common practice in many industries. Buyers are looking to homogenize the process and avoid being “Sold”. If this is the case, you can still show value and separate yourself from the crowd with a proposal summary.
Makes sure your summary includes these five elements:
1. Introduction “Thank you for meeting with us last week…”
2. Recap of their current situation “During our meeting, it was discovered your firm is…”
3. Recap their desired situation “We learned your firm needs to…”
4. Proposed solution “Base on what we learned we would suggest the following…”
5. Intended next steps “We will be…”
This entire process can consist of 3 to 5 well-written paragraphs in an email or even a pdf file along with your proposal. When done correctly this simple process can separate you from your competition and make your Value Proposition standout!
If you would like more information on this topic send us an email with “Proposal” in the subject line.