Today's guest post is by Glen Cohen, vice president of Paperless Proposal.
We like to think that our prospects receive our proposals with the excitement of a kid opening presents on Christmas morning; however, if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that this is rarely the case. I’ve found that most customers just don’t want to read as much anymore. Instead, they’ll skim proposals, often skipping straight to the price tag.
This isn’t great for sales. An almost exclusive focus on price is a fast race to the bottom and leaves you little room to differentiate. Great salespeople tell compelling stories that evoke emotion: excitement, curiosity, amazement, and intrigue. All of those elements tend to be missing from today’s proposals.
Perhaps that’s partly because traditional proposals are as unexciting for salespeople to produce as they are for prospects to read. Salespeople don’t want to log in a lot of computer time; they’d rather be spending time interacting with customers and building relationships.
I’ve found that the following three characteristics are common to almost all successful proposals:
1) The proposal is easy to put together and access. Salespeople do better when they feel a sense of freedom and excitement about putting together a great proposal. When they have to go to five different places to pick up templates and files, they feel weighed down and frustrated by inefficiency.
Prospects and customers respond better when a proposal is visually appealing, easy to scroll through, and encapsulated in a single, easily accessible place.
2) The proposal incorporates video. There is no denying that video is a compelling medium. The incredible popularity of YouTube has shown that many people would rather watch a three-minute video than read three paragraphs of text.
3) The proposal allows for great storytelling. When you watch a movie in a theater, you enter an atmosphere that envelops you in a story. The lights are dimmed, you’re in a comfortable chair, your cell phone is off, and all you can see and hear is what’s in front of you. In short, you are transported to another world. A great proposal keeps the prospect engaged in the moment. The proposal doesn’t require the prospect to open URLs in different tabs or download attachments.
Proposals that evoke curiosity, interest, and excitement are a differentiator in today’s bleak landscape of PDFs and PowerPoint presentations. Customers want to be led on a journey to value and success, and great salespeople want to take them there. That’s why we’ve designed a solution that is clever, easy, and elegant and speaks to the way salespeople want to sell and customers want to buy. We’re also in it for the journey – and for the celebration that goes along with making something great.