In 2006 I discovered the practice of Fractional Sales Management before it became an emerging…
I’d like to introduce you to an alternative approach to presenting and reviewing proposals with your prospective buyers. Picture the key elements of your proposal laid out on one page, either Letter size (8.5 x 11) or Tabloid (17 x 11). You and your buyers each have a copy of the One Page Proposal in front you and your having great dialogue regarding your design, implementation, pricing and solving their key business objectives. You’re not flipping through 30 pages reading over data they’re not ready to digest. Instead, you’re having an enjoyable business conversation that’s leading to a decision. That’s what you can have using a One Page Executive Sales Proposal.
How’s your proposal process? Is it making it easier or harder for your prospective buyers to make a decision? Providing high-level information to people who like to make high level decisions will pay off for you and provide a more enjoyable selling experience. The One Page Proposal approach can help you keep your points at a high-level since you are limited to the one page. Answering the following questions in your proposal will help your executive buyers make a decision sooner than later.
Questions to resolve for your buyer in a proposal
- Does this solution solve our key business objectives?
- Does the design, equipment or approach make sense and will it work within our culture and infrastructure?
- Is the cost acceptable?
- Do the implementation timelines work for us?
- What is being delivered or what will we receive?
The easier you can make it for buyers to resolve these questions, the sooner you’ll have a decision. Keep in mind you want your proposal to provide “just enough” information to help the buyer make a decision. Not too much and not too little, just enough.
What I’ve been using for eight years is a One Page Executive Sales Proposal that was introduced to me by Randy Boek, founder of Route 2 Results. This proposal approach is best used in a business-to-business selling situation with simple or complicated solutions. The more complicated solutions will require backup data and information, which you’re probably including in your current proposal format. If your solution requires more data and detail, the One Page Sales Proposal becomes The One Page Proposal Summary. Using a one page format can generate better conversations to help you increase your closing ratio and reduce buyer decision making time.
MindMap Software Makes it Work
To make this work you want to purchase MindMap software. There are a handful out there but my favorites are MindJet and IMindMap. Picture you and your buyer looking over a state road map together spread out on a conference table. You both have the “whole map” perspective but can drill down into different routes if you choose. You aren’t unfolding little pieces of the map one corner at a time, instead you’re laying the whole map out, then discussing the route you’ve chosen. Exposing the whole proposal through mapping software creates a more open and inclusive conversation similar to looking at the road map together. The presentation is no longer about unveiling bits at a time but about creating an atmosphere of trust (through disclosure) that allows the buyer to listen more openly to your key presentation points.
You can add symbols, pictures, icons, arrows and other illustrations to your map to make your points. Remember a picture can tell a thousand words. The map framework will be built along the sample illustration at the beginning of the blog (click here for a sample PDF). At the end of each arm or branch you can add sub points in text or images that answer the five questions listed earlier. I like to add a future recommendations category to test the waters on future sales.
You might be tempted to simply create an outline on one page and forego the Mind Map, but I feel that would be a mistake. Creating a simple outline won’t generate the same type of conversation a map will. You can research mind maps if you need more data to help convince yourself, but in my experience the maps create more conversation.
As always if you have questions feel free to reach out, as I would be happy to discuss with you.
Happy New Year – Rene