Jul 27, 2009 at 06:25 PM
written by Jim Loria

Getting to "Yes!"

  • WRITING AND PRESENTATION SKILLS.
  • PROOF CHECK.
  • FIRST APPEARANCE.

    Whether you’re a professional salesperson or a newcomer in the field, the above stated qualities are just some of the important essentials to GETTING YOU TO "YES!"

    What makes a meal so delectable at a restaurant? It's the “presentation” of the meal placed on the dish! In sales, it's the presentation, the knowledge of your product and your look that can help cement the deal. But even if you look like a million at your presentation and there's a glaring type-o or two in the proposal, there's a possibility your package's net worth could be reduced if you don't pay attention to the fine print!

    I learned this early on in my career when I was presenting a sponsorship package and this particular meeting was with a female executive. On the document's front page, right there in black and white, her name said "MR." and not "MS." in BOLD TYPE in a few locations? She brought it up to me in a tone, that year's later, it still rings in my ear when I draft up a new proposal. It's one of the little things I will triple check... my heading and signature areas (plus everything in between!)

    I see a lot of people today that go to their FIND, EDIT and REPLACE buttons on the computer; keeping the next proposal the same but only changing out an individual's name, a date or the company. Then, when they meet up with CLIENT "X" in a very anticipated meeting only to have them read their "Competitors Name" in print versus their own because the person's computer replace-it button didn't catch it. I've seen client's get testy if you identified their business on the proposal heading as a "Company" versus "Corporation" or left out "INC." when they clearly display the word "Incorporated" on the business card? So, your package gets turned down. Did your proofing oversights play a small part in any way?

    When I worked in Washington, DC back in the early 80’s, my boss was embarrassed somewhat with my writing skills, enough to make an arrangement with a DC area PR firm to have someone tutor me for a month (during my lunch hours) so that I could polish up my skills. He was fearful that I was working with a media group in a city that was known to have brought down famous figures let alone what they could do to a sports team yearning to get front page coverage.

    I remember those days: my building president where I worked, would spot check every release that went out the door. Every Monday afternoon, a post-it note would be attached to many of my release drafts with comments like "Jim, what does this mean?"... "Jim, poor choice of grammar?"... "Jim, See Me!" ... etc. You know what: it was the BEST THING that ever happened to me going through this process over a five-year period. It did sharpen me up and no doubt that experience has played a significant role in the sales success I've enjoyed throughout the years and today. Your appearance is needed in every sales process but so is your writing skills and keeping everything mistake free! The ability to put it down on paper. Just like a high scoring forward in hockey or basketball but weak on defense. At some point, your liability will burn you!

    One of the things I'll do with every new client is to get their take on my proposal? Not for the pricing (which they'll do in their own mind - LOL!!!), but how they viewed the way that I laid out my documents? Do I need to change anything? Did I use too many words? Over the years, I have personally heard from some clients that they've turned down proposals because of length or time to digest all of the fine print; for poor grammar and even appearance sloppiness, etc.

    As I've stated before in previous blogs, your first meeting is the memory-maker, the one that leaves the imprint! It's the moment when a client starts to think in their mind "do we invest in this person, the business, or not?" It's all about your "complete body of work" that impacts a sales decision!


    Jim can be reached at loria@sfstampede.com. If you are interested in contributing, shoot us an email at info@sponsorpitch.com.

    photo credit via wikimedia: Booyabazooka