It’s early December, and for a lot of you that means it’s proposal time.  Slow down please and consider the recommendation of the famous philosopher and life coach Ice Cube in 1990’s “Check Yourself”:

“You better check yo self before you wreck yo self.”

As Urban Dictionary explains:

Words to live by.  And words to sell by.  Here’s an example why.

A coaching client of mine is the founder of a pre-revenue and self-funded technology company.  He’s looking to outsource some functions.  Alas, he received a proposal from a potential vendor that way overshot his needs, was too expensive, and is forcing him to consider other options. He may, though, return to the vendor at some time in the future.  His gut reaction was that he needs to “walk before he runs and the proposal wasshockingly high.”

The seller clearly didn’t check himself, and may have wrecked himself – lost the deal and any chance of one later.  In my coaching sessions and workshops, I describe the Best Practice of buyer-seller process alignment.  I describe how proposing too early or with proposals that surprise the buyer, sellers often knock the two parties out of alignment and delay or “wreck” a sales opportunity.

What would “checking himself” look like?  What is Ice Cube suggesting the seller do?

The seller could start with asking himself the following prior to hitting send on the proposal.

  1. How could this proposal backfire?
  2. Can the prospect afford it?
  3. Do the capabilities we would provide match the prospect ‘s needs? 
  4. Is the price in line with the prospect’s expectations? Did we discuss their expectations?
  5. Is this an offer I’m proud of?
  6. Would I do the deal if I were the buyer?

Too many negative answers indicate a good “checking” of “Yo self”; pull back the proposal and have a clarifying conversation with the prospect. 

Even more to the point, too many negative answers suggest the seller should have a qualifying conversation with management as well. 

  1. Is this a client that is close enough to our ideal client profile to warrant my spending time selling to him?
  2. Do we have an offering that would result in a happy customer and a success story?
  3. Even if the answers to these two questions are less than optimal, is there a strategic reason to continue the sales cycle and eventually re-draft the proposal?

By the way, I often commiserate with clients after a trip-up like this that if it was easy, everyone would do it.  Ice Cube, again, may put it better:

Old school tip, yeah
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder
How I keep from going under

SalesReformSchool: Food for Thought

With holiday parties and travel, New Year’s Eve, the constant flow of networking events, you have a ton of introductions coming up.  Here’s some advice for doing it well:

SalesReformSchool: Extracurricular

A long time before we fell in love with Coach Taylor and the Dillon Panthers football team, we rooted for Coach Reeves and the Carver High School basketball team.  I highly recommend this NY Post retrospective on the first best fictional sports television show  – The White Shadow.  

Enjoy and Happy Holidays from SalesReformSchool(TM)!

Good Selling,