Yes, your proposals suck.
But it's not just YOUR proposals. It's everyone's.
I know, you probably think I've lost my mind saying things like this, so let me tell you a true story that illustrates my point:
I've recently been training a sales organization who, as luck would have it, sell a product that I've sold myself in the past. And, predictably, I've been working with their sales director on customizing the training and making sure it's what they need to improve.
We moved forward with the training, delivered as a series of customized, live, private webinars to the sales team. All was going well until we neared the conclusion of the series, when the director asked me, "What about the proposal? Can you send us some sample proposals we can use?"
And that's when things got interesting. I told him I never once did a formal proposal - keeping in mind I've sold exactly what they're selling - and he just about fainted in astonishment!
"But you HAVE to give the prospect a proposal!"
Umm... no, you don't.
"But you HAVE to give the prospect a proposal!" No, you don't.
I went on to explain that I did extremely well in their exact industry without ever once issuing a formal proposal. I had conversations with the prospect, in some cases I may have presented or spoken to a group (today it's done by web conference), but not once did I give a prospect a proposal.
"But That's How We've Always Done It!"
One of the major faults of both sales reps and sales directors is the "It's always been done that way" syndrome. They believe that because salespeople are "supposed" to give out proposals, then they MUST do it too. They don't understand that star salespeople are the ones who can be human with prospects and have conversational appointments, rather than hand over a piece of paper with product specs and a price on it.
However, that's not really true. Ever wonder why most salespeople are not successful and aren't enjoying huge commission checks every month? It's because they're doing what they're SUPPOSED to do!
And you know what? Most salespeople have been told all their lives that they're SUPPOSED to cold call! So they go out and make cold calls, and then wonder why they don't work, even though the boss and the old-timers all tell them, "That's how we've always done it!"
A friend of mine who happens to be a very good salesman took a job selling business credit card equipment, and on his first day was given a big heavy case and told to go door-to-door to retail businesses and insist on giving a demonstration of the equipment right there, on the spot.
When he objected and said that he knows very well how to produce huge sales numbers without cold calling, guess what his manager told him? "We've been doing it this way for 40 years and I'm not about to change that!"
That makes about as much sense as saying I should throw away my laptop computer and go back to typing letters on an old electric typewriter from the 1970s.
Want Sales Success? Think For Yourself!
If you want to succeed in sales, and I mean REALLY succeed, you need to close your ears when you start hearing any of this, "We've always done it this way" nonsense.
Henry Ford was told that no one would ever buy a car, because horse & buggy is "how we've always done it."
Bell was told no one would buy a telephone, because telegraph is "how we've always done it."
Television wasn't supposed to take off, because radio is "how we've always done it."
History proved them all wrong, and it's still happening in sales.
If you're not up to speed on modern, Information Age lead-generation methods, learn how you can stop cold calling forever and become a sales rock star by downloading a 37-page PDF preview of the Never Cold Call Again System here.
New York Times best-selling author Frank Rumbauskas helps companies make billions by improving sales processes and marketing strategy. He has won numerous accolades, such as Readers Choice for Business Book of the Year from 800-CEO-READ, and has been named one of Fast Company’s 30 Most Influential People. If you're in sales and want to stop cold calling forever, download a free 37-page PDF preview of his Never Cold Call Again lead-generation system at NeverColdCall.com