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3. How are you going to open up the meeting? Now, there’s no one right way to open every meeting. But you should think about it. You need to make a decision. But I’ll tell you what works for me. In the friendliest way possible, early on in every proposal meeting, I say something along the lines of, “You know, thank you Mr. Prospect or Ms. Prospect for meeting with me today. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to put together a deal. And if we do, do you think my services would be implemented right away?” That question will give you an answer to something that you’re eager to know, and it will be extremely helpful. You might be hesitant in asking this question or asking it in this manner. No worries! Translate it into a way that you can ask it. Or if that’s not the right question for you, find the right question for yourself. But keep asking yourself, “Is this always the best way to go?” and adjust the opening with each meeting. Customize the solution for your prospect. 4. Defend why your proposal is right. Many times, I listen to salespeople on the phone, and I can hear them explain the pricing. But they don’t say what I really want them to say from the prospect’s perspective, which is a very reassuring message. “Hello Prospect, you know, after we spoke, I went back and looked at my notes. I talked to my staff. I went to our service team. I did a little research and a little brainstorming. And as a team, we came up with a plan that I think you’re really going to like. It really addresses the issues that you’ve pointed out and that you’ve told me about. I know these were important to you. Anyway, that’s how we created this proposal.” Now maybe that’s not exactly the way you would say it. But something along those lines would be reassuring. After all, people react and reciprocate. If you act with enthusiasm, the prospect is more likely going to be enthusiastic also. If you act like you don’t care, then why should your prospect? Let’s always remind ourselves of these four things we should do when we’re presenting a proposal over the phone: 1. We’re verifying information. Involve the customer in developing your solution. Show someone your sale in writing before the proposal meeting whenever possible. Showing an outline of the proposal in advance gives you a chance to react and adjust. 2. We’re strategizing how far in advance to send the proposal. There is no one magical time in which all proposals that are sent over are magically approved. Decide whether or not the proposal is powerful enough to speak for itself or make sure that you set aside the time to go through it with the prospect. 3. We’re deciding how we will open. Tailor a friendly opening and be prepared to ask what you need to ask to find out what you must. 4. And we’re preparing ourselves to defend why our proposal is right. Are you giving your prospect reassurance? Have you completed thorough research, and are you prepared to give evidence to your claim?