Our sales proposal is an opportunity to show the customer how well we understand their business and what they want to accomplish. It is our opportunity to offer a solution that will take the customer where they want to be. In the course of PDAgroup's Expert Talks series, Britta Lorenz and Amy Franko, sales strategist and author specializing in B2B sales, talked about what qualifies as a modern seller and explored the do's and don'ts for a standout sales proposal.
In her book "The modern seller", Amy talks about five crucial skill sets that the modern seller needs in order to stand out. Amy goes beyond the obvious. She talks about the skills behind the skills. We know that prospecting, presenting, negotiating, and closing are crucial capabilities for sellers in any industry. But Amy uncovered some other capabilities that salespeople need to build to be successful.
"The modern seller is agile, entrepreneurial, holistic, social, and an ambassador."
The modern seller is…
The modern seller helps customers by seeing forward into the future and reacting on time. Modern sellers can process a lot of information quickly and help their customers see insights with original ideas.
Modern sellers don't see themselves as employees of their business; they see themselves as founders and CEOs of their own brand. Thinking as an entrepreneur implies a whole different mindset. It means managing risks and opportunities, seeing the bottom and the top line of the business, and keeping all this in mind when it is time to make a decision.
When we work with our clients, it is not just them and us. There are other parties involved in the process, like suppliers and business partners, that also influence the quality of the service we are offering. Simultaneously, while we are connected to our clients, our clients are also connected to the greater community. Being holistic means understanding how all these different ecosystems are connected and influence one another. That is why sellers need to look at their sales process and other internal processes in their organization. Sellers must try to understand how these processes serve the client and look for ways to streamline every detail as a way to put themselves ahead of the competition.
Building long-lasting strategic relationships is crucial because they ultimately lead to sales results. For this reason, the focus of the modern seller is on building the right connections and the right networks.
An ambassador has good relationships with clients, the greater community, and other parties in their industry. An ambassador is also someone that embodies the values of their organization while being unique and standing out. An ambassador can foster loyalty with clients and knows how to cultivate an excellent relation with loyal clients.
According to Amy, if we build these five capabilities, we will master sales. Sales enablement can support the development of these skills. For this to happen, it is essential that leadership supports and reinforces sales enablement activities and that sales teams can practice these skills in the field.
Dos and Don'ts for a Standout Sales Proposal
Don't Make Your Proposal All About You and Your Firm's Capabilities
For the customer, when we focus on ourselves, we look like everyone else. Instead, we should show the customer that we truly understand their business before we can showcase our solution's value.
When we overcomplicate our proposal by suggesting many different options, we make it hard for the customer to understand our offer. As it looks complicated, the client will tend to set it aside or stick with what they have. Rather than sharing everything we have to offer in the hope of discovering what resonates with the customer, we should try to keep it simple and narrow down the options. This way, we will be more clear and focused, and the customer will see a path forward on their journey with us.
Don't Negotiate Price as Your First Option
During these difficult times, we probably have clients that are struggling with cashflow. When a client requests us to lower the price, we should first try to understand the why behind this request and then see if there is something that we can do first before negotiating the price. If we finally decide to accept and lower the cost, we must negotiate features out of the solution. This way, we will not be delivering the same service for less money. We can use pricing strategically, but it shouldn't be the first thing we do.
Uneven the Playing Field
We must try to think differently from our competitors and find ways to differentiate ourselves in the customer's eyes.
Focus on the Rule of Three
For the client proposal, three options are enough. It will keep things simple and focused. If these three options build on one another, it will be easier for the customer to understand and remember our proposal and help us stand out from the crowd.
Focus on Outcomes and Value
In any interaction with the client, we should stay focused on outcomes and value. There are three things that we need to keep in mind: what does the customer want to accomplish, what value can we create for that customer, and how are we going to measure success in our work with that client. If our solution aligns with these three things, everything in our offer will tie back to outcomes and value, and the client will be able to see a clear path forward in working together.
If you want to wow a customer with a sales proposal, take the time to walk them through it. If you have any questions or would like to contact Amy Franko, send her an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. On her website amyfranko.com, you will find e-books, podcasts, videos, and lots of free resources to build your skills as a modern seller.
About Amy Franko
Amy Franko is a sales strategist, speaker, and author specializing in B2B sales, working with professional services and technology organizations to accelerate their results. Amy is named as LinkedIn 2019 Top Sales Voice. Her book "The Modern Seller" is an Amazon Best Seller and #1 New Release. It was named a top sales book by Top Sales World.
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