Learn the #1 Business Sales Methodology: Writing Winning Proposals. Here is Why and How.
Career Advancement 101:
I have been in senior executive leadership positions in Private Sector, Public Sector, and the Non-Profit Sector. One thing is clear from my experience, those who can win business for your organization are typically the superstars and those who cannot are lower down the pecking order. If you can win business, your job is assured, your career is assured, and your business opportunities are assured.
Lesson #1: Creating startups, businesses or non-profits is easy. Growing them is really, really hard.
This takes me to my second point. If you don’t know how to scale a business, don’t create one — unless you have someone in your team who can “sell” your product or service and help you grow. My recommendation is that “selling” is a skill that each and every one must have, so you don't have to depend on someone else. Selling is a core survival skill in today’s jungle world. Learn it. Each day I get business folks calling me asking me for help to sell their product or service. They do it because they think I know how to do it.
Lesson #2: How to sell successfully should not be an afterthought for businesses or careers, it is the core of doing the business or growing your career!
I often talk to men and women who tell me they are not cut out for sales. Wrong. Selling is not a god given skill. With proper hard work and dedication, you can learn to become a good seller — we will discuss how to learn to sell later in this article. In my opinion, every man, women, student, whether employed or unemployed should practice and learn this skill. The earlier you start the better it is — as selling involves either winning business or losing business and the earlier you learn to win, the more money you will make in your life! There is a lot of misconception about successful sales folks and that is part of the confusion of why you may think you cannot be a salesperson.
Lesson #3: Selling is not about becoming a smooth talker, being sly, assertive, persuasive, or even aggressive. That is conning someone.
So What is Selling?
Lesson #4: Selling is about crafting and pitching winning business proposals. A winning proposal is a win for both the parties — the seller and the buyer.
If either of these parties does not win, your business will not grow in the long term. Most people do not know how to craft win-win business proposals well. Those who do, do very well in life. When a startup is seeking funds, it is submitting a business proposal (business plan) to the investor. When you are seeking more funds for your business, you are submitting a business proposal to your bank for a loan. When you are seeking resources for your office team expansion from your boss, you may be submitting a business proposal for his or her consideration. When you are seeking to “sell” a project to a business or government, you will be writing a business proposal. Look, you need to write proposals everywhere!
Lesson #5: Ask your self this question — how good are you at developing “written” winning proposals? Your choices are:
a) Never done it
If you selected answers a, b, c, or d, then — Take a quick primer today.
Qualities of a Master Sales Person:
I have been a buyer of technology products for a number of years. My office has bought over $12B of IT products in my career. I have therefore had an opportunity to witness some of the best sales and proposal techniques and I can confidently state that the main features of a great salesperson are that he or she is:
#a. They are great listeners — they understand the buyer first.
#b. They focus on building trust — with the buyer.
#c. They exceed the buyer’s expectation — consistently.
#d. They can secure buyer’s commitment — quickly.
# e. They address buyer objections — artfully.
Most importantly they are adapt at conceptualizing, planning, developing, and pitching winning business proposals and win large contracts and grants.
#1 Selling Methodology: Writing Winning Proposals.
Most major buying and selling amongst businesses is not done via face to face talks. It may start that way but it always ends in one party sending the other party a written business proposal. The fact of the matter is that you are required to sell everywhere and the ability to write winning business proposals is key to your success for big projects. Winning business proposal includes pre-selling, the high-quality proposal submission itself, and then the post-selling activity. All are critical for a lasting win. During my career, my various offices have received a multitude of such written proposals — whether they be for grants or contracts. The US Federal Government for instance funds over $1T most of which require exceptionally written proposals. Yet, unfortunately, the quality of such proposals is many times low.
Lesson #6: There is a big difference between writing a proposal and writing a winning proposal. Anyone can write the former, few can write the latter.
I got so frustrated with the quality of proposals we received that I started looking into the training available for a writing winning proposals. Unfortunately, I found that most proposal writing training programs focus the majority of their time on proposal basics and are long, costly, outdated, and developed by sellers — which means they are guessing what the buyer wants.
Learn This Skill: Winning Proposal Writing!
Therefore, we at ScaleUP USA Growth Accelerator developed our very own Winning Proposal Writing Training Program.
Lesson #7: If you need a boost in your career or for your business, you need sales and the best methodology for sales is to learn how to write winning business proposals. Learn and grow or lose out and disappear. The choice is yours.
About the Author:
Nitin Pradhan is the former award-winning CIO of the US Department of Transportation, and a first term Obama Appointee; He is the current CEO of Launch Dream and leads their ScaleUP USA — Digital Business Growth Accelerator Initiative and is also the Managing Partner of GOVonomy, an innovation as a service for governments and government contractors. He is also a Mentor at Mach 37, the nation’s top Cyber Accelerator, Z-nation Labs (India), and on the External Advisory Board of Accenture. Business and Government leaders can connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.