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How much does it hurt to see the work you’ve put into a proposal go completely wasted? It’s okay, we know. It hurts a lot. But presenting business proposals doesn’t have to break our hearts when we do it the right way.

As good as it might feel, burning bridges or raging at the gods doesn’t help when you never hear from your prospect again. What can help is changing your process. 

Presenting Business Proposals the Wrong Way

I get it. Prospects are fond of saying, “just send it over, and I’ll take a look at it.” And it’s easier for us to “just send it over.”

You don’t have to push back, and you don’t have to argue or confront any elephants in the room.

But when you’ve moved a prospect that deep into the sales process, do you really want to take the easy way out?

Emailing proposals or scopes of work is too risky after you’ve put so much work into building the relationship.

You have no control over the potential void of the interwebs. You’re leaving this crucial last step in the process to chance and hope, which could be setting you up for failure.

Even worse, you’re making it too easy for your prospects to back out without any explanation.

Emailing something is not presenting it, and your business proposals are too important to leave to chance and hope.

Presenting Business Proposals the Right Way

Yes, it will take a little more time and effort, but you’ll know presenting business proposals is worth it when you start closing more deals.

There are a few necessary steps involved to do it the right way.

First, Ask for Next Steps

If you’ve gotten your prospect to the proposal stage, then you’ve probably already had several conversations. And if you’ve done your job well, then you’ve established trust, asked about their pains and needs, and overcome any objections they may have had.

You should know that they are a fully qualified prospect.

So taking that extra step of presenting the proposal shouldn’t be too big of a request. 

Let them know that going over the proposal with them allows you to clarify any confusion or misunderstanding before it causes a problem.

Then, ask for the next steps.

“I’ll need a day or two to draft a proposal. After that, when would be the best time for us to look at it together?”

Confirm Agreements

Sometimes, people are a bit resistant to letting you present their business proposal. They’re either worried that it’ll take up too much time, or they’re busy and don’t feel comfortable squeezing it into their schedule.

This is where setting expectations and following up are so important.

First, reassure them that it doesn’t have to take that much time. You probably don’t need to go through it line by line. Let them know that you simply want to hit the big stuff and be available to answer their questions or concerns.

If they’re still hesitant, push just a little harder. Take a look at your schedule and suggest some available times. If the proposal is done, ask if you can have another ten minutes to go over it immediately.

More than anything else, make sure they know that this stage is about collaboration. If the proposal doesn’t work for them, you want to know so you can make it right.

Present Your Proposal

When you finally get to present your business proposal or scope of work, keep just a few things in mind.

  1. Start by re-addressing their pains and how you plan to help solve them.
  2. Cover the highlights; don’t read it word for word.
  3. Do not leave out important standards of procedure.
  4. Leave room for questions and check in with them after big agreements or important parts.

Make sure that you hit the essential things that are specific to you. Everybody has some of the same line items and legalese. So unless they ask about that, just make sure they know it’s there.

It’s more important that they understand your process, methods of communication, timeline, and expected results. These are the things that make you unique, and they can make or break the relationship.

Using PowerPoint or Google Slides can be really helpful. But for the sake of your time and energy, don’t worry too much about design. The content is more important than how pretty it looks.

Finally, Ask About More Next Steps

After presenting your business proposal, ask them how they would like to move forward.

Depending on the relationship you built, it may be okay to ask them for an answer right then. If not, find out when you can expect to receive an answer.

And as with everything else, set agreements about when you’ll follow up with them. Then do it!

Presenting Business Proposals Actually Saves Time

Presenting business proposals requires just a little more time and effort than just emailing them. But think about how much time and effort you’ve put into the relationship to get them that far.

Going over it together provides many benefits to both of you, some of which are:

  1. Nothing gets skipped over or misunderstood. This prevents problems further in the working relationship.
  2. You can address any questions or concerns they have right then rather then sending emails back and forth.
  3. You won’t miss that vital window of opportunity when they are excited about moving forward. 

When you present your proposal to your prospect, you’re further establishing yourself as a trusted resource and advisor. Where everybody else will just email it, you’ll be there to guide the prospect through it and ensure their best interest.

It’s not about selling them something; it’s about collaboration and building a relationship. Looking at it together lets them continue to have a voice in the process. 

And it gives you the comfort of knowing that your time and effort aren’t wasting away in their inbox.

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