Present or Send Your Proposal?

July 12, 2018

Over the past six months, you have worked hard to develop a suspect into a prospect.  To control the process, it has taken much time, patience, and effort to advance the sale.  You now know the prospects needs, are comfortable you can satisfy their needs, presented your approach to the decision maker, and confirmed they have the resources to engage you.

Great news: the prospect wants a proposal for your solution.

The question: should you present your proposal or send it?  Does it matter?

Speaking with many business professionals, prospects, and clients, we often hear they are very busy and pressed for time.  So, when a prospect asks for a proposal they want to get it to them as quickly as possible.

The most common answer: prepare the proposal, create an email, attach the proposal, and hit “SEND”.

No doubt emailing is certainly the fastest way to get the proposal to the prospect…. but is it the best way and what do you lose with this approach?

Despite distances and time delays, we believe a proposal should always be directly presented to the prospect.  By presenting the proposal, the professional maintains control of the sales process.  Emailing yields control of the proposal and thereby the sales process into the hands of the prospect.

Best practice is to secure a face to face meeting to present your proposal, if possible.  Meeting in person allows you to maintain control while delivering your proposed solution.  The presenter can observe body language, facial expressions, and other signals to judge the prospect’s reaction and react accordingly with more information or a better explanation.

Where distance prohibits a face to face meeting, a videoconference, or other on-line meeting service may be good alternative.  When using this approach, set the appointment and then hold your proposal until just a few minutes before or at the exact time of the scheduled meeting before sending to the prospect.  Then present your solution to the prospect as if you were there in person.  While you may lose some of the visual signs, you may still be able to pick up on verbal cues and react accordingly.

Today, with the speed of business moving so quickly it reminds me of the old adage “Haste Makes Waste.”  Hastiness in sending your proposal instead of presenting it may cost you control of the process and waste your good work.  To win engagement, it is important to maintain control of the process, handle any objections, and set up the closing.

Bill Taylor is president of Corporate Ladders, a business development consulting and coaching firm specializing in top line revenue growth for accounting, legal, and other professional services firms.  You can reach him with your questions or comments by phone at +1 201 825 8296 or email at [email protected].

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