Every proposal represents an opportunity to grow your business! After spending years in business and sales, I have seen how the ability to put together a well-crafted proposal is crucial to achieving advancement for yourself and your business.
Let your audience know what to expect. People generally don’t like surprises, so a brief overview of your key points will be a good start. Remember to keep it simple. It is your job to make it easy for the person reading the proposal to understand the proposal. Don’t put them to the test of doing the work for you, they won’t.
The purpose of a proposal is to persuade your prospect to buy your product or service. To persuade them that your product or service is something they will benefit from and is something they should not live without. Develop material that supports your final objective of getting them to buy your product/service by including statistics, testimonials, references or quotes.
Understanding of the Customer
A winning proposal will overwhelmingly serve the customer. Your proposals message and benefits should be orientated to the audience, company, and industry it addresses.
Recognize Customer Needs
Whenever you write a proposal, ask yourself: What are the best ways to address the issues and present your solutions? What audience will be reading your proposal and who is the decision, maker? What is important to my customer?
Now that you know your customer, make sure your proposal is tailored to that unique customer and their unique business goals. Also, always address your proposal to the correct individual(s). People love hearing/reading their names and it makes the experience that more personal.
Create Positive Perceptions
Proposals that create positive perceptions of the product, service, and brand drive results. You have the unique ability to design your proposal for each customer to make your solution and company look positive. Taking time to examine competitors and demonstrate how your product/service is better than theirs can create a positive perception you will want your prospect to think about while making their decision.
Every proposal is interactive. They can either be proactive or interactive. In the proactive mode, the prospect may seem to be just sitting there reading/listening to the proposal, however, they are forming their decision of whether or not to buy from you. In the interactive mode, the proposal may seem more dominant and will elicit participation from the prospect. Participation can come in the form of approval on price points, approvals on features and asking questions such as: Does the list of features and benefits satisfy your business needs through quarter one as requested in the RFP? Communicating always involves 2 parties. In the most effective communication, the listener is mentally active even if not vocally so.
Call to Action (To Do)
Make sure you ask your prospect what you want them to do. Give them a reminder that they can choose to purchase today or request their approval to move forward with invoicing. This element of a winning sales proposal can easily be overlooked and assumed to be the only logical next step, so why ask? Asking your customer (in writing or vocally), personally by name can be the single greatest way to quickly move from prospect to customer. You can say, “Mr. Johnson, after reviewing this proposal would you please provide me with your approval to move forward by signing your name on the indicated areas?”
Review & Edit
Your audience is more likely to respond affirmatively to your proposed solution (Call to Action) if the points you have made steer them in the right direction. Make sure you review your proposal and make any necessary edits so that your proposal includes sufficient substance that provides them a reason or reasons to take action. Ask yourself: Will the contents of this proposal create the desired action that I am asking for?
By taking into account the above elements of a winning sales proposal before writing your next proposal you have already improved your chances of winning the business!