You should close at least 30% of the prospects you sit down with. If you are at that level or higher, you have already figured out how to simplify the complex sale. But if not, you badly need to simplify your sales process starting with your investment proposal. This article deals with preparing a proposal.
To help get you started, I have prepared a “Proposal Template.” To learn how to present a simple proposal, you need to read “Part VIII — The Good Way to Sell.” Both of these are available at no charge at www.billgood.com/proposal.
Over the past dozen years or so, selling his become much more complex.
In the recent past, you could sell a product to get your foot in the door.
Because of required minimums and countless other factors, advisors now have to propose recommendations for entire portfolios. These solutions are often generated by programs developed by various firms as well as creators of portfolio management software. The portfolio proposals I have seen run many pages.
I was recently asked by a client to review one of these proposals. It was immediately obvious why he is having difficulty closing the sale.
It was 37 pages long. It included 12 pages of disclosures. It included terms that I had to look up that were not included in its glossary. To a client, it would be incomprehensible.
What do you think happens when clients or prospects who are marginally financially literate encounter terms such as “US Short Term Fixed Income,” “Secular Return Estimate” and (gasp) “Monte Carlo Target Band”?
That sale is dead.
Make It Simple
For years, you have been advised to “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”
But as countless authors have noted, achieving simplicity is not simple.
Steve Jobs said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
The rules are simple. But as with any simplicity, it will take some work to get there.
Keep it short.
Use a simple outline.
The sales presentation follows the proposal.
Make it readable.
Keep It Short
A sales proposal should be a few pages. The template I have created for you is eight pages.
It should not include information about you, your team or anything else. These are separate items and should be presented together in a folder.
Long = complicated = I want to think it over = no sale.
Use a Simple Outline
Your proposal is the handout for a customized seminar you are presenting for one or two people. It provides a place for your prospects to take notes.
Imagine a sales presentation that follows this outline:
Monte Carlo Simulation and Projected Income Distribution
Risk Based Portfolio: Models A, B, C and D
Return, Risk and Standard Deviation
Asset Class Reallocation
This kind of stuff is the equivalent of inviting the client into the back of the butcher shop to see how the sausage is made when all they wanted to do was buy a pound for breakfast.
Presentation Follows Proposal
Each page of my proposal template is devoted only to a single topic. You will have to download and read “Good Way to Sell” to see how to present the proposal. Here we are talking about its construction.
Cover page. Customize it for each buying unit, if you like.
Disclaimer. Work with Compliance to keep this short. Maximum length should be ½ page. If it has to be longer, see if you can put it in the back.
Objectives. List the two or three items the client most wants to accomplish. Your presentation of the proposal outlines how those will be accomplished: