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3 Things You Should Ask Before Sending a Sales Proposal

02
Sep

ask-before

When a prospect says, “send me a proposal,” does that really mean they are ready to buy? Or is it a stall tactic, much like with a cold call when a prospect says, “send me some information”?

You don’t want to waste your precious time writing a proposal if the prospect isn’t going to seriously consider it; so here are three things you should ask before sending over that sales proposal.

1. “If the solution proposed is a perfect fit for your needs, what will happen next?”

You don’t want to spend time writing and submitting a proposal only to hear “we’ll get back to you in the future if we decide to do something.” You want to know that the prospect is already on board and actively finding a solution by the time you submit a proposal.

By asking this question, you’ll know if the proposal is really worth writing. Furthermore, this question will elicit the response you need to move forward with the sales process.

If the answer is…

  • “We’ll need to see how it measures up against our other priorities and where we need to dedicate our resources.” Then you need to find a compelling reason for why the prospect should solve this problem now.
  • “I’ll need to ensure the proposed cost is within our budget.” Then you need to discuss the prospect’s price range to confirm your solution is within his or her budget.
  • “I’ll need to discuss it with my manager to find out next steps.” Then you need to make sure you’re talking with the decision-maker(s).

If you receive any of these responses, you probably don’t need to jump on writing the sales proposal just yet. Instead, spend your time and resources on the aforementioned activities.

2. “When are you looking to make a decision on this project?”

Most salespeople will find out dates for when prospects want to implement a project or need to take delivery of the product, but fail to find out when they want to make a decision.

By understanding the prospect’s timeline, you’ll better understand how to handle the sales proposal process and how quickly things need to get turned around.

3. “What are your other options?”

You want to know about your competition, but most prospects will tell you that information is confidential if you ask them outright. Therefore, ask prospects about their other options to gauge what else they’re considering.

By asking this question, you’ll have a better chance of getting information about other potential suppliers or vendors and any alternative options, including in-house solutions or do-nothing scenarios.

Conclusion

Only write sales proposals if you know your prospect’s timeline, alternative options, and what their next steps will be after finding the perfect solution. If you’re satisfied with the answers you receive and believe it’s the best next step to make them your client, feel free to move forward with the proposal writing process.

Ultimately, asking these questions will allow you to prioritize your time, convert more deals, and know which opportunities are likely to convert the fastest and for more money.