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How to do a Sales Proposal Presentation (And Why You Shouldn’t Email It)

How to do a Sales Proposal Presentation (And Why You Shouldn’t Email It)

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
5 min read

“That was exciting!”

That’s the response you want to get from your sales proposal presentation.

It may seem like a reach if you haven’t achieved it yet, but I promise it’s a real thing.

Excitement is an emotion, and to help someone feel the excitement you need to inject – you guessed it – emotion into your presentation.

See how that works?

In this article, I’ll share with you how to construct your sales presentation for maximum effect and excitement.


What You’ll Learn In This Article

How Clients Read A Sales Proposal

Let me tell you a story from the Liston from the past.

When I started consulting, I usually sent sales proposals over email.

And you know what I heard?

Nothing. Just silence.

And that worried me. Back then, I used a proposal analytics tool that allowed me to track and create proposals easily. Thanks to this piece of software, I found that clients go directly to the page with pricing options. They may spend 90% or more of their time on that page, without reading much of anything else.

Here I poured my heart into a proposal for hours, only to have it not read. I asked some friends about this and they reported similar results.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the price is super important, but it’s only one factor in someone’s decision to work with us.

There are many reasons people decide to buy something or not. I believe people focus on the price because it’s easy to evaluate and compare.

But if you’ve bought something, you know that focusing on the price is not the best way to make a purchasing decision. Yet, I work with many consultants who invest tons of time and energy into sales conversations, and then they go off and write a proposal and what do they do?

They send an email and fall into the trap of clients making a price-driven decision.

Why You Shouldn’t Email A Sales Proposal

I’ll share another secret with you: asking for a proposal is, often, a way clients are trying to politely avoid telling you they don’t want to work with you.

That’s why you should only write a proposal once you’ve gotten a verbal agreement.

That means something else, too: only email your proposal after you’ve presented it live.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share it. What I’m saying is you shouldn’t send it and then just wait until you get a reply.

When you send your proposal over email without presenting it, you have now lost control over the conversation. If you present your proposal live, you get to see and hear your clients’ most visceral and immediate reactions. You get a chance to follow up with questions and understand their objections at the moment.

Present Your Sales Proposals Live

Presenting your proposal means doing it live. If you work with local clients or sell big projects – 6-figures and up – then you should be there in person. If you work remotely, do it over video conference, and include your webcam and your client’s webcam.

Seeing each other is quite powerful.

And remember how, if you email a proposal, your client is likely to flip straight to the price and ignore everything else? Presenting live is the antidote. It gives you control over the conversation and allows you to set the value you deliver before you give the price. It also allows you to recap the problems you uncovered in the discovery and how bad they are.

But, just as important, you’ll see your client’s honest reaction to the proposal, and be there to step in to answer any questions.

If you send your proposal without talking to your prospects, chances are your proposal will fall flat. Change is hard, and any consulting, coaching, or service offer comes with mandatory change. Status quo is much easier. But if you can respond to your client’s questions on the spot, you have a chance to walk them through the sale properly.

And let’s say your proposal missed the mark. If you’re a fit to work together, a conversation is the best way to manage both your and your client’s expectations and find that sweet spot that represents what your clients want.

But you can’t do this over email.

And that’s because, in consulting services, the trust curve is steep. Plus, finding the sweet spot – aka negotiating – is a real-time process. It can’t be done effectively over an asynchronous communication medium like email.

Building trust and credibility is a process, and having more interactions and more time with our potential clients is an accelerant in the process. Just the fact that you showed up and you became more human is helpful. Plus, you had an additional touchpoint and you built in a new follow up step for even trust building.

That’s why I have a presentation deck with slides where I show the client:

  • The problems we uncovered in discovery
  • The goals of what they’re trying to achieve and how things would be different if they achieved those goals
  • The value of pursuing this project
  • What it would be like to work with me
  • Pricing
  • Questions
  • Decision

Why This Kind Of Sales Proposal Works

You probably know that there are three basic types of learners: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

People who learn things by seeing them, people who learn things by hearing them, and others that like to interact with things to learn from them. If you bring slides into the conversation, you’re covering auditory and visual learners. And so, giving a visual reinforces the words you’re saying, even if you only have a few graphics.

But don’t fall into this trap. Don’t read your presentation aloud! Instead, make it a conversation where the client can participate. That way, you can cover kinesthetic learners as well because they will be able to interact with the proposal.

But, ultimately, this method works because you give your clients a chance to ask questions and have a conversation about how things will be. Instead of emailing a document that’s dead on arrival, you tackle questions together with a lively conversation.

Remember, the service business is all about relationships. Relationships are built on conversations. Make your sales centered on conversations and you’ll win more clients.


Key Takeaways

Make your sales proposal presentation live, and make it a conversation.

It humanizes you and builds rapport. So, instead of writing a proposal and emailing it, go ahead and schedule a meeting and talk.

Here’s a quick recap of what we covered:

  • Clients spend almost 90% of their time on their pricing page (in my experience)
  • If you email your sales proposal, you’re losing control over the conversation
  • Conversations help you assess your client’s expectations and objections
  • Live presentations allow you to take control and engage in meaningful conversation