Robert-photo-w-icon-150-4-7-10-FINAL4-150x150When the selling/problem solving process is done well, both buyer and seller can be satisfied with the final price.

To earn your price, and leave the customer feeling satisfied with that decision, preparation is the key. Use these 3 methods to maximize preparation:

  1. Start early. Ensuring that both parties will be satisfied when the deal is done begins with your decision to do more than resolve a customer’s current pain. Early in the discovery process, position your proposed solution as an investment in the customer’s future success, rather than as just a necessary cost paid to address today’s problem. Learn about the customer’s business.  Why is removing the pain important?  What defines success for the customer? What barriers must be overcome to achieve their goals? How does your solution produce quantifiable benefits that address these questions and move them towards the future?
  1. Help them make money. Convert your promised quantifiable benefits into money. Decisions are evaluated and made using the language of money; it’s the language of management. How is an investment in your solution going to produce a strategic financial advantage for them? Before proposing a solution that reduces a customer’s cost, look first to a means of increasing their sales or productivity; helping a customer’s business grow positions your proposal as an investment and establishes you as a partner in their success. If you don’t have the specific information you need to propose valid financial benefits, then suggest assumptions on which your proposed financial advantage is based. Add a rationale about how your solution strengthens their competitive advantage, as well as their financial advantage, and their perspective of you as partner is reinforced.
  1. Reduce the customer’s risk. Build your proposal around 2-3 recommended solutions to promote dialogue with the customer that drives progress. Proposing optional ways to proceed allows the customer to explore alternatives with you, reducing concern about making a poor decision while enabling you to guide the discussion towards the most satisfactory solution for you both. For each recommendation, couple the proposed price with every applicable term, i.e. down payments, discounts, warranty, payment terms, etc. Each of these items impacts your proposed price, so they should be negotiated whenever the customer decides to focus on price; any price reduction is coupled with less favorable terms.

Preparation increases the probability that both parties will be satisfied with the final price, and that you will earn preference for future business.

How do you prepare before generating proposals? 

How could you propose optional recommendations?