Should I Let Sales Reps Email Proposals to Prospects as a Routine Practice
By Jim Kahrs
The short answer is no, I have never been a fan of allowing a sales rep to email, fax or mail a proposal to a prospect, EVER! I know you will have some reps come back to you and say, “What if it’s a long trip to the prospect?” or “They’re not working in their office anymore.” The problem with sending a proposal is that you lose control the minute you send it. Success in the sales process is very closely tied to control. Any time the sales rep gives up control of the process the odds of closing the sale go down.
Once the prospect has the proposal in hand they have no reason to be engaged and actually speak to the sales rep until he or she is ready to close. You need to understand that human nature intervenes at this stage of the cycle. People get nervous when it’s time to “pull the trigger.” A prospect with your proposal in hand may delay the close out of his or her own nervousness. Beyond this, there are worse potential consequences. The prospect now has the exact details of your deal and has the time and ability to shop you against the competition. The problem here is that the prospect doesn’t likely have the knowledge to do a proper comparison. This leaves you vulnerable. I’ve seen too many deals lost due to a misunderstanding on the prospect’s part.
Are there going to be times when you choose to send a proposal via email? Probably, yes. More so today since the pandemic became such a big part of our lives. Nevertheless, I’d suggest you start with the idea that your sales team will never do that. And if there is going to be an exception to that policy, there better be a really good reason and approval from the sales manager in advance. We have to understand that we are actually intentionally reducing our odds of closing a deal if we simply send a proposal out to be reviewed. But if you start with the idea that your proposals can only be presented in a face-to-face meeting (virtual or in-office), then you immediately raise your chances of being able to work toward the prospect’s agreement and ultimately the close.