We’ve spoken a lot about the rise of a more consultative style of sales in the recent past. Clients want salespeople who understand their unique issues in detail, but as with everything, there’s a time and a place, and that may not be in your initial proposal.
According to data from sales training provider TACK International’s recent ‘Buyer’s View of Sales People 2015’ report, salespeople are guilty of cramming far too much fluff into their initial proposal docs, and are losing sales because of it.
While a formal proposal may seem like the best place to put all the lovingly crafted PR copy you’ve assembled (You know, profiles of your boss, and paragraphs where you describe yourself as ‘leading’), it turns out that buyers just want you to cut to the chase.
A massive 52% of clients wanted a proposal that was less than three pages long, while a further 43% said they would never read beyond page ten.
While buyers want this out of the way quickly however, they are looking to spend an increased amount of time talking, with 61% saying they would be wiling to take more than half an hour out to talk about issues and solutions.
However, once you have that time, be careful how you fill it
Just 21% want to see a demo during this time, and only 29% expect a formal presentation of any kind. Discussion-based pitching processes were by far the most popular option, preferred by 50% of respondents.
The message behind these figures is fairly clear. Clients are time-poor, but are willing to invest if you can spend that time productively, collaborating on solutions rather than parroting the company line. At this stage they are already interested and have done their research, so don’t waste valuable time going over old ground.