So, the IT salesperson comes to my office, wearing khakis and a yellow shortsleeve shirt and hands me his proposal for our new $52,000 client server network system to run all of our business. The first time I met the sales guy, he actually wore a suit. But I guess now, since we got the first impression out of the way and have built a “relationship”, it was ok for him to come to our office looking like he was on his way to his daughter’s softball game.
So I eyeball the proposal — all two pages of it — and it looks kind of like a book-of-the-month club order form or a checklist for a kids’ birthday party at a bowling alley.
Hey — it’s $52,000… at least try to sell me.
Do you think he got the deal?
To sell and market technology better, you must understand how IT offerings are dissected by the prospect and then ultimately chosen as the buyer reads your proposal.
So as a marketing manager, an IT salesperson or a high tech CEO, you need to create proposals that act as an “invisible salesperson” that sells when you are not in the room.
Does your proposal just list installation, equipment and software modules being purchased or does it have 30 boring pages of the scope and installation schedule of professional services the client is going to buy?
If so… then that’s a problem.
Your proposal should be an invisible salesperson who sells for you when you are not there. It should communicate your value three dimensionally so the prospect understands why they should buy from you — not the other vendors who are also trying to validate their value. Even more important, it should educate all of the other decision influencers and decision makers who are making a judgment on your offering. Hoping that your primary contact is going to precisely communicate your value and correctly answer all of the questions that may arise about your offering is naive.
If your IT proposal does not scream “I am the one”, then you have a problem. If you sell technology and services in a complex, multi-layered decision process… then it is even more important for your proposal to work as an effective business tool.
When a proposal is reviewed, it must explain “why” they should buy from you, not just “this is what you get.” You need to include, at a minimum, the following information:
- What is your company philosophy?
- How do you handle client special requests?
- What does the prospect need to know that they are not educated enough to ask you or your competitors?
All important questions that if you don’t address will reduce your firm’s success and cause you to lose deals that should be yours.
To double your IT closing ratio in the next 60 days, follow these three steps.
Three Proposal Tips You Can Use Right Now
- On the last page of your proposal, include a summary on “Why you should invest with us.” More than a written conclusion, this section should succinctly describe why the prospect should select you specifically. In your soliloquy, list the potential consequences to the buyer (in a professional way) of what will happen if they don’t buy from you… or if they don’t buy at all.
- Create a F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) section in each of your proposals to answer the most asked questions your targeted buyers may ponder. This allows you always to give the right response to a sales objection or question to your buyer and their team- even when you are not there.
- Keep a client dialogue book and write down detailed notes that include the prospect’s name, title, date of comment and positive observations the client and their team make about investing in your IT during your conversations and discovery. As long as a prospect doesn’t say “this is confidential”, list all of the positive comments inside the proposal under a heading called ” Comments Made By Your Team.” References by your current clients are always good, but positive statements of why the prospect should buy made by their own team is always better.
Selling IT is a premeditated sport. You must invest time, money and effort into a precise process of how to communicate value continually while managing the buyer process of acquisition.
Your proposal can be an invisible salesperson that keeps selling — or it can be a book-of-the-month club order form that describes what you buy… not the reasons why the buyer should buy.
It’s up to you!