What’s so special about the  4th of July? As well as being my wedding anniversary (tip to the males like me who have problem remembering dates, pick a wedding date you can remember) it’s also the American Independence Day.

Regardless of your origin, I’m sure you will recognise the date and its significance – but like many things in history there’s a twist few of us know about.  And that’s the subject of this week’s blog – reducing your propose-to-close sales leakage.  Interested in the connection?  Read on…

While nobody doubts that John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, most historians have concluded that it actually took until August 2nd 1776 for all the delegates to complete the process. Almost a month later than July 4th!

The experience of the American founding fathers demonstrates that even with the most compelling proposition – “all men are created equal” –  that it’s still tough to get a deal over the line!

You can almost hear John Adams talking to his manager when he walks back in without the contract!

“We had the meeting and it was all going to forecast, Thomas Jefferson had done a great job coaching me on what to say, I had the users from 13 departments all on side, budget had been signed off by treasury, the legal team had given approval to the wording (although we nearly came unstuck when some guy from Georgia said do we actually mean “all men are equal”  and then my sponsor John Hancock puts up his hand and says, ‘Hand me the quill, I’ll sign first’.

“At that point I was euphoric and looking forward to taking Abigail out for dinner on the commission when blow me down if this middle manager from purchasing in New York say’s they can’t sign as the budgets over the sign off limit and they need another set of approvals.”

How often have you been in John Adam’s situation?  The contract was seemingly over the line, the deal done, even commission pre spent, only to find your buyer delay, or even worse, cancel at the last minute.

So what can you do to maximise your chances of offering a winning proposal each and every time?  How do you reduce your propose to close sales leakage?

Here are 3 selling ideas that you can action right now:

  1. Agree the right needs: Before putting a proposal on the table take time to ensure that the buyer and you agree a clear need that you solve.  All too often in our haste to get a proposal on the table we ignore one or more of the key buying influences.  Time spent agreeing the need before proposing is time well spent.
  2. Engage all the buying influences: In any complex sale there are different types of buying influences that you will need to convince.  The Economic Buyer who has final approval, the Technical Buyer who is evaluating your fitness for purpose and the User buyer who must live with the solution. Invest time to determine who each of these Buying Influences are and the degree of influence they will have over the final decision then map your selling campaign to engage each buyer.
  3. Understand your buyers: To gain preference for your proposal, engage these buying influences on two levels: the business and the personal.  Understand the business results that your buyers are seeking and their personal wins as well.   Demonstrate how your proposal helps each type of Buying Influence (Economic, Technical and User) to achieve their business results and to win personally.

To offer a winning proposal that gets your prospect jumping at the chance to sign it first, implement the above steps and you will see a significant improvement to your propose to close ratio.

Brett Bonser is Director of align.me and Co-Founder of Funnel Camp.