The 6-slide Proposal Template To Sell More Faster – Kim Orlesky
Kim Orlesky is the working President at KO Advantage Group. She has a lot of feathers in her cap including being one of LinkedIn’s Top Sales Leader and writing the book “Sell More. Faster.” In her session at B2B Binge 2.0. she shares her 6-slide proposal template to sell more, faster, and efficiently.
Those who are in that B2B high-value premium service market, I want to state that by providing your clients with more information, does not make the decision-making process easier for them.
The confused mind will say no.
Often we think the more expensive our product or service is, the more information we need to give. We need to create scopes of work, contracts, legal ease, and massive implementation plans. And that actually will hinder and delay your sales cycle.
Why one needs a six slide proposal template?
One of the reasons why this was created is because people got confused. They could not comprehend what a proposal should be. A plan is not a scope of work or a letter of intention or a contract or any lengthy word documents.
Ultimately what it will do is make your client’s eyes glaze over, and they will be like, I don’t want to go through this. This proposal looks like work, a lot of it. Maybe when I have the time to go through this, it might be the right time to implement.
Do not confuse your proposal with any of these other documents.
Your proposal has a particular place in the sales cycle, and therefore it is a selling document. It is there to sell.
What is the Six Slide Proposal Template?
Your proposal structure or the six slide proposal, I created this back when I worked for Xerox. Now it’s like 13 years ago, 14 years ago. It has never failed me a single time. I have presented any information, whether that was working for Xerox or a logistics company, or American express. And now we teach our students how to do this.
Every single time they’re like, we are closing more business because we have wholly simplified what we’re communicating to our clients.
The first slide in your proposal is the overarching goal. It is where does your client want to be in the next three, five, maybe even ten years from now? It is whether they choose to go with you or not. The reason why this slide is so important is if you get this wrong, I want you to crumple up the rest of your proposal, throw it away because everything you were going to talk to your client about is complete garbage.
If you don’t know where the buyer wants to be in the next three to five years, how is your solution going to support that growth and that goal?
The current state of affairs
The second slide we show is the current state and the consequences of them saying, here, I want to be precise. It is not you telling me why I am sucking at what I’m doing, why I will be a failure if I don’t take any action. It is instead you asking me a lot of questions and me providing you the information.
Here’s what we’re scared of. Here’s what will happen if we don’t invest. If we don’t change, if we don’t grow, we will die, and this is how bad it could be. All I want you to do is to reiterate to your client what they have already told you, their fears for why they need to take some type of investment, and why they need to grow.
In the third slide, this is the ideal state, so where the overarching goal gets the client to three years to five years. The perfect state is where I will be in six months to a year after. I am working with you. I want you to imagine how much better as a client; my life is going to be, that I’ve already implemented your solution.
Where do you expect me to be in the next six months to a year after? We’re already using the software that is already consistently built into my system. What is should ultimately do is the ideal state should help. Feed into the goals. If you can help me get a little bit closer to achieve my overall goals.
Then we can talk about the product or service and how it will support me. Now, one of the reasons why this is a slide deck is because it will force you to make this simple. You cannot create a whole bunch of information on it. Single slide unless you’re choosing to use an eight-point font, but why would you go ahead and do that?
You want to just focus on the three, four, no more than five key points, key features, and the benefits.
Anyone whoever comes to me and says, “Kim, I cannot close my business. I’m not getting the business closed on this.” It’s because they have not clarified the timeline for their client.
Where will we be today? What’s the next step? What’s going to happen immediately after that? Where do we get to the next six months?
Finally, you go into the client’s return on investment and what that is. What the return on investment? It is not what you tell your client what their return on investment is, but rather the questions that you ask them, how will this help support you?
How will you know this is the right solution for you? Because you’re a high-value service provider, stop emailing your proposals. It is the last moment between you or my prospect or my client to show me why I should welcome your project.
How do you communicate your proposal?
Why are you discounting it to the lowest common communication denominator? Listen, I love you so much. I so desperately want you as my client. I’m just going to throw some crap at your email box, and hopefully, it’s enough for you to say yes.
Your proposal needs to be a face to face conversation, whether you’re using Zoom, whether using Skype or Citrix or any of those other formulas.
I don’t care, but we need to deliver the proposal in that way.
AMA with Kim Orlesky
The following is excerpts from the AMA session with Kim.
What would be the best hook strategy for a new SaaS product?
Whenever we’re talking about any type of software as a service, I mean, find your ideal clients and go with them, right? But don’t just tell them why your software is going to be so fantastic or how it’s going to help them come from a place of being genuinely interest. Find out where they want to see automation. Where do they want to actually see their business expand and then continue to go from there?
Any time a sales cycle fails, it’s because we’re spending too much time telling our clients what we need and not enough time understanding what they believe they need. First and foremost, the sales cycle will naturally follow after that.
What about prospects who delay the decision? How to convince them for a quick purchase?
This comes down to the timeline and is one of the reasons why you want to understand the schedule as early as possible in your sales cycle and your questioning. So we talked about the six slide proposal, but you’re usually your first meeting. We’re going to be doing a lead qualification timeline being one of the first things we want to qualify with our clients. And I want to be clear; this is not asking our clients. When do you want to make your decision? That is a terrible question.
That’s like essentially asking someone who’s showing up to the gym. When do you want to start losing that weight?
Nobody wants to start losing 10 pounds. They want the 10 pounds to be already gone, and so we want to know why it is vital for you. When do you want to have those 10 pounds already gone, right?
What is coming up for you in the same as a solution? We want to know when they want to see this automation already happen. When do you already want to have this, and how will this impact you?
So if the decision ever gets delayed, we have a reason to come back to them, not because they need to decide on this solution, but because they also told us when we’re saving our time, we can then go ahead and reinvest this and client engagements.
You understand getting more resources, building up more revenue streams so we can reproach them, and say how like how are you doing building up that revenue stream? What are you doing to be able to continue to grow your business? And it reminds me like, Oh yeah. The reason why we were in this conversation is that this was going to help me grow because of these other future-focused projects.
What are the tools that help nail your audience research?
I’m a big fan of LinkedIn, right? I love, I love using that. There is much research and, and tools and everything that you can use, but at the end of the day, when you’re, whether you’re starting a business, whether you’re brand new to a territory, you’re already working for a, they get laser-focused on whom you want to be targeting.
I don’t want you to go after everybody in North America. Oh, anyone in the world who has a business to business service could be our client that is necessarily like trying to build an entire net to cover the whole ocean and saying, I hope I catch some quality fish. I want you to target your list of 100, who are your ideal clients?
Who are the people on that list of 100? That if you got them, everything else would follow after that. That becomes a subset. Allow those people to come to you or continue to market to them, but don’t spend your energy outbound calling them. Go after the cream of the crop, the top echelon. Focus on them, and everything else will follow because when you get 1% or 10% of those people, you’re settled for good, and everything else is going to help support your business.
How do you tackle when the objectives change after the proposal face-to-face?
Companies are going to change. Businesses are going to change their priorities. I mean, we’ve had, like in the last 90 days, companies had one priority in February. Come March, priorities immediately shifted. It is going to happen. Embrace it. Don’t try to take your client back to where they were in February. I know customers, you said in February, this is important, so it needs to be relevant today. No. Instead of that, ask them many questions and be like, how does your priority shifts.
Do you still support this growth? How are you looking to build your business, your client base, your revenue streams, and see if you can reconnect at that point? Now, let’s be clear. Timing is everything, and I would instead go ahead. If the client just says the timing is just not right now.
Go ahead and ask them when is the right time to reconnect with them as opposed to trying to force it down. Because all you’re going to end up doing is you’re going to leave a bad taste in the client’s mouth. They’re not going to want to deal with you in the future but ask many questions. Find out if there’s an opportunity for you to continue to work together because, at times, there is, but we need the client’s collaboration with us to figure that out.
How are you making your pitch which to sell during these testing times?
Am I tweaking my pitch? I don’t think so. I am, and I don’t believe many companies need to tweak their proposal. I think at the end of the day, and we’re seeing many companies that are still interested in growing.
They’re still interested in finding more revenue. One of the things that we do in our sales program, Kao sales U, is we get our clients to understand, our students understand how is your product or service going to help someone grow their business? How are you ultimately going to help me get revenue, get more profit, achieve more clients?
If you can get that perfect, the rest of it will never matter because unless your only pitch is, I help you save time, money, energy, which many people do. Many people stop their plans there. If you are going to save me time, how am I as a customer going to reinvest that time? And if you don’t know the answer to that, ask them.
Find out how they will reinvest at that time. All ultimately continue to ask the questions. How will you reinvest saved time and money? Until you get them to a point where they say, yes, this is how my company will grow when you get there.
Your pitch should have necessarily, “my product helps you increase revenue, gain more cash flow, gain more business,” and you’ll never have to change your pitch ever again.
What is the average customer retention rate currently in the global markets in any niche?
It depends; I don’t even think you can talk by an industry-wide. I think you need to take this is a customer by customer basis. I could offer you an exceptional product, but if my customer experience sucks, nobody’s going to stay with me.
Despite the fact being in a very secure business, I think people are continually looking to change, continuously looking to improve. And so if you’re trying to capture clients from companies that are treating their clients well, the question you need to ask yourself is, how can I manage them even better?
What are they not offering? And perhaps you can carve out maybe more of a boutique offering, perhaps something particular. But one of the things that we can do as service providers better than anyone else is not saying we provide exceptional customer service, but instead, we provide excellent customer service for this specific segment of clients and target yourself on that.
Often, that’s a particular segment of clients enough to grow your business, and then from there, you can improve. For example, Airbnb did this. They didn’t just start by saying; we’re going to offer hotel services right across the entire world. They began by telling the particular niche we want to go after are people that were so desperate to go to a conference when every single hotel is set is sold out, that they’re willing to listen.
Sleep on someone’s air mattress in the living room. There’s a tiny segment of people that are willing to do that. They started there, they focused on that, and then eventually grew to become the juggernaut that they are today.
How can one sell a product, even if the product is not as polished as the competitors?
Focus on what you are good at. There is individual psychology to let people know the negatives ahead of time, and I think that there is very valuable, especially when you are segmenting who your ideal clients are. It does not work for this type of client, or this type of client is not going to get that type of result.
It helps you to build rapport and trust with your clients. But the other thing you can do is then really speak to your level of customer service. You know, if it’s not as polished. Are you there if I need you? For most clients, that’s ultimately the most significant objection that they have. If something happens, will you be there for me?
Can you make me feel secure that you will be there for me? I am more than happy to go with somebody whose product might not be perfect because I trust that when I need them, they’re only a phone call away.
Which is a better approach to a prospect via LinkedIn or email?
They’re both the same. I mean, ultimately, when you can get to the LinkedIn versus email. The other, the idea behind this is, I mean, why not try both meet clients where they are and where they like to be met? There’s going to be some people that prefer email as their method of communication to LinkedIn and vice versa.
It isn’t just trying to create so much ambiguity or so much mystery that we’re trying to get somebody to be convinced to say yes, but rather, Hey, this is what we do. It is how we help or are you interested in learning more?
By asking them, are you interested in learning more? You’re going to find that out. Now let’s be honest. Sales is still a numbers game. Play your numbers, but watch them. If you’re sending off a hundred LinkedIn messages and a hundred emails and you’re getting less than 1% of the people saying yes, chances are it has more to do with the memo that you’re trying to convey versus the mode of communication that you’re using.
Should you include a profile and portfolio as a part of the sales proposal?
Should a profile or portfolio be a part of the sales proposal? No. How does that serve me as a client? I mean, I’m less interested in whom you’ve worked with and more interested in how you’re going to work with me.
If I was hiring somebody, I mean, there was a great story about like one of the world’s best copywriters who’s available in the world. I mean, he’s just kind of going off on his own. Am I interested in knowing his business has done or his experience or what he will be able to do for my business?
Unless the client has particularly said, I need to see who else you’ve worked with. Now, an objection that type of referral or testimonial tells me that they don’t quite understand the value that you’re getting to them. But I don’t see how that serves your profile, or your portfolio should typically come before the proposal, not at the time of the proposing.
One of the things about the proposal is that no new information should be presented at this time? And if you are offering firsthand knowledge at your bid, you are not ready to propose because the proposal should be a summary of everything we have discussed up to this point.
How important is it for a sales rep to have his or her brand?
Having your brand has more to do with where are you planning ongoing in the future, right? Are you planning on staying with that company forever, or are you planning to work towards new companies? Start your own company, in which case, then a personal brand is essential. It’s whom you stand for. It’s where your values are, that will carry with you regardless of which company or which role you’re in.
So I think it is essential to be able to say this is who I am, and I’m willing to wear it as a badge of honor. It will ultimately help to attract even better opportunities, more opportunities, and help you grow your business in the long run.
If you have to pick only one, what will be your pick? Is it phone, email, LinkedIn content, or events?
I would pick the phone every single time. And the reason why I say phone every time is that if I can get on the phone with somebody, I can do what I can do in a 15-minute conversation will drive a relationship far further than what I could do in trying to draft an email for 15 minutes, or even literally 15 email exchanges trying to get. A networking event is hoping that I’m going to pick the needle in the haystack ultimately.
That is where I want to go, or just hoping that I’m going to put out a piece of information that the right person at the right time in their stage of the buying cycle is going to need. I am always about the relationship first and foremost, and even if the client says no or it’s not the right time or anything else at this, I have now sparked a relationship that I can go back to three months to six months, a year plus down the road.
That in all honesty, I can’t replicate with any other method.
Should I only do outbound if I’m working with B2B people if everybody’s doing that?
I think it’s a combination of the two. If you choose only to seek what you’re looking for when somebody is looking for you, how do they know where to go?
I have been able to grow my business even with some inbound approaches, and there’s an excellent combination between the two. But I do believe that you need to have an outbound strategy. You need to be clear what that process is. You need to be clear on what that is, because at the end of the day if you’re not going to go after the business, all you’re doing is you’re hurrying up, and you’re waiting.
You’re aggressively waiting for your phone to ring, and that does not put you in control of your destiny. You are the person that’s ultimately going to be responsible for getting the revenue. So you need to do something to make it happen.