Your deal is so close, you can almost taste it.
But there are still freakishly-common closing pitfalls waiting to derail your deal.
Read this before your next closing call.
It has everything
we think we know the data tells us.
Here’s how to add some serious horsepower to your sales proposals:
#1: DON’T Save The Best For Last
Words that do not belong in closing calls:
A lot of advice suggests doing helps soften the price-point blow when in fact it gets buyers to recoil when presented with their proposal.
Instead: Make your business case in your first slide, and make it airtight using a straightforward formula:
Name the customer’s number one goal, their main challenge, and your differentiating value prop.
Want the detailed version? You can access the full blown sales proposal template here.
P.S: For competitive deals, follow the instructions in the deck to sabotage your rival’s soon-to-be closed-lost deal.
#2: DO Speak To The Highest-Ranking Persona
They’re the ones who hold the fate of your deal.
Your closing calls should aim to engage them early, and often.
Showcase how your solution impacts the results they care about most.
Then continue your list by order of importance: second-highest-ranking, then third, and so on.
#3: DO Present Results
If your sales process included a pilot or trial phase:
Use these results to show early impact and future potential.
High adoption by the buyer’s team = easy to roll out.
High ratings by key personas = value was immediately apparent.
Positive impact on key business metrics = fast pay-back period.
Once you’ve got a few numbers floating around the meeting, convert them into a clear benefit to buyers.
In other words, do the heavy lifting for your buyer and tell them why these numbers matter. Don’t make them connect the dots on their own.
#4: DON’T Show A Logo Slide
There’s only one exception to this rule: I’ll cover it at length in this deck.
The rest of the time, steer clear of social proof (it can backfire).
Assumption: Everyone’s impressed by your big-name clients.
Counterpoint: They’re not.
Buyers will think “I’m nothing like them, this probably isn’t for me.”
And your proposal will most likely confirm their impression…
Instead, make sure that whomever you’re talking to knows that others like them use your product.
Talk about other companies with whom they identify.
#5: DON’T Present ROI Stats
Yes. It’s true.
Presenting ROI at any point in your sales process correlates with a 27% drop in close rates (full data).
Big numbers might feel like they’re impressive.
BUT they also raise questions: What was the sample size? Were other factors involved that contributed to this stat? Is it even reliable??
Instead, present before and after stories.
This doesn’t mean not including stats!
It just means tying them to a particular stories – with a beginning, middle, and end – that alleviates those concerns and gets buyers to picture their success.
And this works EVEN BETTER if you include stories from similar companies:
They’re just like me.
The numbers presented are for a single company – less objectionable!
I hear how they got to that stat, it makes sense.
And I can do it too (after I sign).
#6: DO Show You’re Committed
Yes, you want them to sign.
But you don’t want them to think that you’ll just up and go after they do!
To put those concerns to rest, show a detailed timeline of all planned onboarding events and your company’s ongoing engagement in the customer’s success.
Take a post-sales process that looks like this:
Start with the picture of day one (reviewing how to use the product), then move through the first 2-3 months (systematizing its use), 4-6 months (analyzing the results), 6-9 months (reshaping strategies based on the results to date), and closing with the ongoing cycle of accelerating positive results.
Now for each stage, name the main activities and the expected results.
You’re doing more than laying out a clear plan here. You’re clarifying that you really care about your customer’s success, not just making a sale. You’ve invested in thinking about their long-term success with your product as well as the benefits they’ll accrue along the way.
Each stage should be more appealing than the last one, so that the entire process holds a real draw for the buyer.
This should signal their path to the success stories you listed before!
#7: Do Use The Right Anchor Point
This might be the biggest closing call mistake.
Showing the final price without reference to discounts already applied.
This is HUGE because instead of feeling like “we’re getting a good deal” buyers will balk at the price and ask for another discount.
Here’s what you need to include in your pricing slide:
- An expiration date (Yes, there is one. Your offer doesn’t last forever, and neither does their decision-making timeline.)
- Contract terms such as annual payments due Net 30 upon receipt (If there are questions about these terms, start working to resolve them now.)
- Include a chart with columns for the product type (so they can make adjustments if they want to), the annual approved price, the price the customer is being offered, and the discount (i.e., difference), as well as the quantity of each product type. (At Gong, this includes things like license type, platform fee, etc.)
And last but not least…
Use the term ‘Approved pricing.’
The data is clear: The word “approved” implies that there is a higher power than you with pricing authority.
But with the words list price, typical price, or standard price: Buyers can’t help but continue bringing it up in the hopes that they can carve a bit more off the final price before putting pen to paper.
#8 DO This In Competitive Deals
Remember that time we railed against social proof?
Well, there’s one time it can come in particularly handy, but only if you use it the way we suggested: cite customers who are a lot like your customer.
Show that others in their tribe are flocking to your product.
It reinforces the idea that they should too.
In fact, this is one of the few times when social proof really pulls its weight instead of harming your deal.
The desire to never be left out of a good thing is incredibly strong in humans.
Let it work for you.
Put It In Practice
You’re almost ready to dodge absurdly common closing call mistakes and boost win rates in late stage deals.
Because you still need to create the perfect sales proposal deck.
That’s where this template comes in:
This 9-slide fill-in-the-blanks powerpoint is like mad libs for getting sales proposals ready to sign.
It has everything you learned here + instructions on how to lay it all out in a simple, copy-paste-win deck: