June 8, 2017 | 4 Min Read

4 Questions to Ask Before Sending a Proposal

Posted By
Amy Post


The sales process can be intense, and the point when the prospect asks for a proposal can be a very exciting moment. You are so ready to close that business, grab the profits, and deliver your excellent product or service! So, the minute someone asks for the price you should give it to them, right? Not so fast, partner, believe it or not, that prospect might not be ready to see those figures yet, and you don’t want to be too quick to send them.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before firing that proposal gun:

1. Is the prospect ready to see prices?

You’ve heard us talk about the buyer’s journey before. It’s the path your customers take leading up to making a purchase. When a prospect is in the Attract stage of the journey, they likely aren’t quite ready to see your prices. At that point in the game, they are merely identifying their problem and looking for some possible options of how to resolve the issue. If you hand over the goods too early, your organization might be seen as just another name on the long list of possible vendors, leading them to potentially make a selection based solely on who has the lowest price. This becomes an issue both if you aren’t the least cost option, as well as if you are, as you may suddenly become just a “cheap” solution.

2. Have you established your value?

If you are just another name on that list of possible vendors with a price listed next to it, you’ve done nothing to prove what differentiates your product or service from the other business names above or below yours. When a potential customer is in the convert phase of the buying process, you are given a perfect opportunity to educate them on the value your particular company, product or service has to offer them. For example, maybe you are a more expensive option, but the potential customer learns why you are after reading your cost and feature comparison guide you have provided on your website. The customer now establishes you as a leader in value and quality rather than just a quote.

3. Is the proposal comprehensive enough?

If you are rushing to put something together just so someone can sign quickly, you might be setting yourself up for a world of hurt later when it comes to delivering on your services. Your proposals and quotes should be extremely clear in what's provided upon acceptance. Be sure to document product specifics, timelines, and delivery details to avoid any confusion or tense discussions about what's included or expected.

4. Is it in the best interest of both parties?

Even if you’ve taken all our advice and you are patient with those dollar signs, you’ve established value and created a complete quote; you still should ask yourself if the relationship makes sense. (This is especially the case when you are a service provider and the agreement means a longer and more intense relationship.) If you’ve done everything right leading up to the purchase, you will probably have a good grasp on whether or not the relationship is set up for success over time. Obviously, this isn’t always the case, but if a significant “red flag” arises during the sales process, think long and hard before sending a proposal. If you move forward with someone who you know isn’t the right fit for your business, it might end up costing you a whole lot more if the relationship turns sour due to a personality or business conflict.

And we’ll leave ya with some advice for the pushy ones...

We hear a lot from people, “But the leads get upset with us if we don’t just tell them what it costs right from the get-go.” The reality is, those types of buyers are probably just looking to compare your price with another preferred vendor, and you are probably not going to win the business just by forking over your figures, anyway. Our suggestion is to kindly refuse the proposal at that time, but suggest they take a look at your website resources and call back to schedule a meeting if they still want to discuss the product or service in more detail. Who knows? Maybe your calm-but-yet-kind resistance will peak some interest for them to download your feature comparison guide on your website and call you back to schedule a meeting. Doing so may suddenly thrust you back into the sales competition!

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Topics: Sales Enablement

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