You’ve worked hard to get to the end of the sales process, and now, the proposal presentation has the power to help you get a signed contract. Presentations are already stressful for many sellers; throw in the added pressure of closing a deal, and this final step can be majorly nerve-wracking. But it doesn’t have to be. With a clear strategy and plan, sellers can put together a winning proposal presentation and have the confidence to pull it off.
How to prepare for a sales proposal presentation
“Done well, a proposal presentation builds rapport, deepens trust, and serves as an experiential sample of what the buyer will get if they work with you," writes RAIN Group’s Erica Schultz. But as mentioned, not every rep can build and deliver a winning one. Schultz shares must-do steps for both before and during the presentation that increase chances of success.
One of her first pre-presentation tips is to really get to know who your audience will be. Sellers should already understand the value of pre-call research when considering a lead, but many quit researching once they’ve started putting the prospect through the sales process. Learning about the prospect and their business should never stop, especially when it comes to crafting a proposal presentation.
Double down on researching the key players who will be present and who has the final say in the purchase. “You should ask your champion or key contact about the meeting participants on their side,” she suggests. “Focus on what they’ll want to hear and how they’ll want the conversation to go.” For example, would they be more receptive to a monologue-focused presentation or one that is interactive? What visuals connect best with them? Would storytelling be more influential or do they prefer hard numbers and data? Read more about various styles, then find out which one will resonate most with your specific audience.
Learn the logistics
The last thing a seller needs before delivering a proposal presentation is to go into it not knowing the room set-up or what technology is available for use. Always make sure that you have all logistics nailed down to ensure everything goes smoothly. Schultz recommends finding out the following vital information before every presentation:
- Where is the meeting taking place?
- Where are all the participants based?
- Is the meeting live and will anyone be joining virtually?
- Are there printed or physical materials that need to be emailed to remote attendees in advance?
- How much time is allotted for the meeting? Are there hard start/stop times or tech checks?
- What technology platform are you using?
Find a role for everyone
One thing that sellers might not think about is how to incorporate each team member into the proposal presentation. Schultz firmly believes that if you arrive with multiple people, each person should play a role. As she explains, this can surprisingly leave a bad impression. “Often, buyers will mention after presentations that they didn’t pick one of the providers because one team member was too dominant and everyone else was too silent,” she writes. “One person may talk the most, but everyone needs a role if you bring them, even if it’s just introductions and after-meeting chat.”
So, consider each team member’s strengths and find ways to incorporate those into the presentation. It could be as simple as being the moderator for the Q&A section or introducing a slide or other visual. This will add more cohesion and solidify you all as a team.
The proposal presentation is a huge step toward a close. Don’t get so wrapped up in what you’re going to say that you forget to think about the small pre-presentation tasks. Tying up loose ends and ensuring you are prepared will enable you to make your delivery as smooth as possible–and with confidence.
Photo by Mikael Blomkvist