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When Preparing a Cost Proposal is a Waste of Your Time

When Preparing a Cost Proposal is a Waste of Your Time - SalesLatitude

When Preparing a Cost Proposal is a Waste of Your Time - SalesLatitudeThe following blog was originally published on January 18, 2016 by Shawn Karol Sandy. Shawn is part of my mastermind group with Women Sales Pros. Together, we provide training, coaching, tools and guidance to help sales teams be consistently successful. This blog answers the question:  Should you prepare a cost proposal just because the buyer asked?

Last week we kicked off a series highlighting costly Sales Fails from leading edge sales trainers and consultants around the country. With so much experience coaching, training and in the fields, my mastermind group of Women Sales Pros had plenty of examples to contribute.

In the last post, we highlighted the #SalesFail many reps are guilty of, “Hiding behind email”. Using email as a catchall for sales activity is a mistake costing you plenty of opportunities and even sales.

This week, I asked Janice MarsPrincipal and Founder of SalesLatitude of the question, “If you could tell sales professionals to stop doing this ONE THING what would it be?”

Janice says,

“I would say, STOP preparing a cost proposal just because they asked. It’s easy for anyone to ask for a cost proposal, however proposals take time and effort and you need to use your time wisely. Ensure the potential buyer is willing to spend the right amount of time allowing you to do proper discovery since you do not want be column fodder. You can always provide a cost range for your products and services to ensure the buyer’s budget matches your ideal client profile before wasting too much time.”

Did that advice surprise you or make you say, “But they asked for a proposal”?

Going back to my days as a sales rep, I think about how excited I would get and how eagerly I would prepare a proposal, assuming that because they asked, my buyer was in the consideration phase with me and moving forward in their buying process.

However, so many of those proposals that were really “too early” in the relationship went absolutely nowhere. Many times, the customer didn’t even want to meet to review the proposal, they wanted me to send it over for them “to consider” – which really meant it would be deleted shortly.

Not only was that a lot of time and energy wasted on creating and carefully crafting those proposals, I actually prevented those relationships with potential customers from progressing. By not objecting or pushing back to the request for pricing or proposals, I allowed myself to be moved to the “commodity” bucket to be compared apples to apples – in their own estimation.

Without the benefit of further exploring the customers’ challenges, resources, infrastructure, talent, et cetera – you can’t offer insights to your solution, your commitment or your successes.

Next time your prospective buyer suggests “Just send me a proposal” – push back and ask your buyer one of these questions –

  • What answers are you seeking to understand through a proposal?
  • How would this proposal help you move towards your decision?
  • Can we discuss some of your challenges further to help me create the best solution for you?
  • Can I get some input from some of your other stakeholders to make sure my proposal and recommendations take everyone’s needs in to account.

Next time you’re rushed to create and send a proposal, pump the brakes. See how much time you buy back and how much more responsive your prospective customers are to your proposals.

Many thanks to Shawn Karol Sandy for today’s blog. Shawn is  one of my awesome Women Sales Pro colleagues. Straightforward, practical and perhaps slightly cheeky, her innate gift is helping people find new ways to solve old problems, unique ways to approach new problems and helping businesses re-invent themselves and their sales strategies.



Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter


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