If you’re in sales, you should sales proposals like the back of your hand. But have you ever considered the possibility that it may be time to rethink the sales proposal? Who are you proposing to? What is the sales proposal? Today on the Funnel we discuss the vision and the outcome of the perfect sales proposal and how to move forward with your next steps. As always if you have any questions please schedule a free 30-minute consultation and I’ll do my best to help in any way I can.


What we’re going to cover:


  • Who are you proposing to?
  • What is a proposal?
  • Vision and outcomes
  • Next steps



Who are you proposing to?


My ideal prospect

“In the ideal world, you’re proposing to your ideal prospect. You’ve created your prospect in marketing, known as the persona. At this point you should be thinking ‘they fit everything that they’re supposed to fit here, they are a decision maker, they’re an executive’, and that’s when you know that’s who you should be proposing to.”

What matters most to them?

“It starts with their strategic goals which you should have uncovered in your initial conversation. It shouldn’t be ‘thanks for the opportunity to submit this proposal’ and then immediately going into all the jargon. Because then you don’t really think about who you’re talking to and that creates problems.”

Treat every proposal like it’s gold.

“The words are important. You want to clearly articulate those goals that they gave back to you because you want to show them how you’re going to meet or exceed those goals. Convince if they don’t make a decision with you they’re jeopardizing their long term success.”

Stakeholder challenges

“Of course, there are stakeholder challenges, there are other people involved in this and I’m not saying don’t address them in there. I’m saying in the very beginning when you’re driving it home don’t start with the pleasantries of thank you, start with the strategic goals. Start with this is what we’re going to do. This is not the time to back off.”

What is a proposal?


Living breathing document

“It’s a living breathing document, it’s a vehicle for moving forward for change, for solving my problem if I’m the prospect.”

What usually happens:

“A lot of times there’s this heavy documentation. For example, the big issues are being covered, the technical issues, and you get this hundred page behemoth. Then, this document doesn’t clearly state exactly what it is you’re going to do and how you’re going to get there in terms that an executive would read and understand.”

Leave the technical for others

“They’re looking for clarity, they’re not looking for confusion. The lower level people can deal with the technical aspects of it, okay? That’s their role. They need that quick, executive summary, that story that says this is what you going to do for me and this is how I’m going to solve your problem and make your life easier.”



“Make sure that beginning part of that proposal, that living breathing document, clearly defines what you’re going to do for them, how you’re going to do it for them, how you’re solving the problems, and the path to get there. It needs to be well crafted.” “These folks want to be told how to solve their problem. In their world, the vast majority of their employees show up at their door with problems they expect them to solve, so you need to be different.”

Vision and outcomes


“You go through all this work, you have all these conversations, and if they are sitting in a proposal, they’re asking questions, and they’re confused on how you’re going to get there, you didn’t do it right.”

Clear vision

“The buyer wants you to change the situation they’re in now and solve their problem, you need a clear vision for that. You need a clear vision of what it looks like today, what it’s going to look like tomorrow, and how that be vision will be made, how you’re going to get there.”

What good thing happens

“You want to make it very clear to them the vision on this is what we’re going to do, this is how we’re going to do it, and this is what it looks like, and this is what good thing happens if you do this, it’s the outcome.”

They should be excited

“You understand their needs, their problems, their challenges and then show how you’re going to solve the needs, the challenges and the problems. Here’s the vision of what it’s going to look like when we’re done and they should get excited about that. They should be happy about that vision and outcome.”

Next steps


Not that difficult

“If they are confused by what you’ve given them and it’s a huge sales proposal and they need a lot of time to think about it, well you’ve got problems on your hands, and you’ve got no next steps.”


Keep it moving forward

“You want to keep this thing moving forward, you want that ball rolling down hill and collecting, building up and getting bigger and bigger. For that to happen you need some kind of action that’s a commitment to getting this thing done. That could be scheduling the next meeting if it’s a big project or maybe a signature on the agreement. “

How will you do it?

“Sometimes you just need to take a step back and say am I doing this right, are my salespeople doing this right? Let’s make sure we’re doing it the way we’re supposed to do it, that we build the momentum, and we start out by talking to the person who’s making the decision in the proposal. Creating that vision and that outcome. Paint the picture for them so they can see themselves succeeding, and what bad thing happens I they don’t do it. It’s critical to your success and moving deals forward and then finally getting that next step in place.”

Set the next meeting

“When you’re in meetings don’t end the meeting without having the next meeting in the books.” “So, what have you done? You’ve got the momentum moving forward and they’re less likely to come back to you and say ‘I want to make this change, I want to stop this in its tracks’. If they say hey I need 2-3 weeks to think about this, forget about it.”

Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.

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