Looking over some old proposals over the weekend and then checking to see which ones were accepted, I noticed a trend regarding the ones accepted the first time offered. The accepted proposals had options or alternatives in the offers which closed the sale based upon the Contrast Principle and Giving the Customer exactly what they valued.
Now the gurus of consulting and sales training have been talking about this for a long time, yet here is my version of why you use options in your proposals especially in B2B sales.
First, all professionals should never submit a proposal without a minimum of three alternatives for the potential client to choose. And, if you have a done an excellent job of uncovering the issues, the pain associated with the issues (including the most important pain – if no action is taken.), and the cost consequences of a lack of decision – the choice will be easy for your client and they will often pick the higher priced option. And, that is exactly what my research showed – clients will pick the higher priced option because they want the results.
Second, even commodity type B2B selling situations can use the alternative or options in the proposal. In fact, it works best for you to unbundle your services and let the customer show you what they feel is important. Too often I see sales people or companies bundling multiple services into their proposal at a higher combined price. In this case, dealing with a commodity buyer they are most often only concerned with the acquisition price of individual units. If they cannot easily determine that value – price – they look to other “vendors” for pricing of units. Remember, it is okay to bundle if you price it with unbundling techniques so the buyer will know what they are getting. Alternatives and options are still better for both you and the customer/buyer.
Finally, if you know you are dealing with a more progressive potential customer they will understand the meaning of real value and total cost factors rather than only acquisition cost. With these customers and prospects it is acceptable to bundle products and services AND have a couple of additional options on top of the base investment. Again, the options or alternatives create a feeling of different levels of pricing and the contrast principle kicks in. Remember the Contrast Principle states that the lowest priced item always appears cheaper against the highest priced item.