By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

sales tips for submitting proposals

My observation is that a high percentage of proposals are provided too soon. In the random world of sales, tangible events are welcome. Many sellers view proposals as being steps toward getting orders. They can be, but I’d suggest some questions before issuing them:

  1. Has a cost vs. benefit been created that justifies the expenditure you’re asking for?

  2. Is the person you’re giving the proposal to able to fund the initiative?

  3. How many of the people that may be in the buying committee have you spoken with?

  4. Do buyers understand the outcomes they are looking to achieve with your offering?

  5. Do buyers understand the reasons they can’t achieve those outcomes without your offering?

  6. Can buyers articulate specific capabilities within your offering will that address the reasons?

  7. Have the buyers been provided with documented results other companies have achieved with your offering?

  8. Will the proposal be forwarded to any people you haven’t already spoken with?

  9. Do buyers have everything needed to make a buying decision?

  10. Why are you issuing the proposal now?

Sellers give up a great deal of control once proposals are issued. Response times to requests often go from hours to days because buyers have everything they need. Once a proposal has been out for a week or two, buyers don’t want to feel pressured because they’ve not yet made decisions.

Given a choice, my preference would be to err on the side of providing a proposal too late rather than too early. Have a look at your pipeline and circle the opportunities where proposals have been issued and there has been not activity/contact in the last 30 days. 

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