When negotiating a large-quantity book order your prospects will expect you to present a proposal. This is your recommendation of how to proceed, your solution to the buyer’s problem. Give them an answer to the unspoken question, “How will your product make a credible improvement over the existing or previous ways in which they have conducted promotional campaigns?” Here are the Top Ten Tips for Creating a Sales Proposal.
- Give a summary of what you propose, why it will benefit the buyer, and how much it will cost – all on one page.
- An 8 – 15% improvement gets attention. If you predict a result that is too low, they are not interested. If too high, it is not believable. Make a reasonable and doable claim that is backed by credible data. Do not offer a guarantee.
- Make your recommendation for this upcoming campaign, but think about your answers to potential questions such as, “What’s next?” or “How do we top that?” A well-conceived answer may result in significant recurring revenue.
- Lead them to come up with the solution of the problem on their own, using your ammunition.
- Do not present your solution as the “one-and-only.” Give them options and choices. These are the “good-better-best:” or “best case – worst case – most likely” cases. Lead them to choose your solution for the right reasons – their reasons.
- Clarify all options and terms. There may be words and phrases that are used regularly in the publishing industry but unknown to your prospects. Concepts like “french flaps” might leave them scratching their heads.
- What are the decision points? If you are proposing a significantly large order, you might propose a test of the concept.
- Be aware of the impact of what you are saying. Instead of using the words price or cost, use the word investment to reinforce the fact that your prospects will be better off implementing your plan than rejecting it. Instead of asking them to sign a contract, get them to OK the agreement.
- Use charts and graphs to summarize the spreadsheets and to make your point visually and demonstrate how effectively you can show success.
If you offer a discount for an immediate order or a higher quantity, make the difference immediately discernable. When you drop your total price from $99,985 to $97,360 the buyer would have to stop to calculate the difference, perhaps distracting him or her. On the other hand, if you drop the price from $99,985 to $97,985 the difference is immediately clear.
Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales and author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books.