Writing a compelling business proposal is critical for the success of any professional venture. An excellent plan can help you close more deals and grow your revenue impeccably.
However, proposal writing can be a challenging affair. If you get it wrong, you’re more likely to lose most deals no matter how good your offers are. On the contrary, if you get the facts right, winning lucrative deals will be your norm.
Since a business proposal marks the difference between winning or losing a sale, acquiring new clients, and creating long-lasting relationships with your potential customers, it’s crucial to know what counts. This article presents some tips and tricks to help you write a killer sales proposal.
Promise to Provide a Solution
An effective sales proposal promises to solve the client’s problem. If you can’t present yourself as a professional in your field and you don’t believe in what you can do, the prospects will have a hard time believing you too.
You need to explain to the client what you’re offering and how it’ll help solve their needs. Your proposal should feature a clear objective and the relevant millstones you’ll follow to achieve the desired result. If the proposal is simple and straightforward, your prospects will have an easy time making a decision.
In the new normal, presenting and discussing a proposal in person is no longer an option! Once the proposal is shared, make sure you are available online so that your prospect can easily connect to you and clarify doubts. For example, they may want to know how long it’ll take to see the results. The proposal must convince the customer that they have the solution to their problem.
Create an outline
The best way to start your proposal is by creating an outline. List all the relevant parts of the document. If you want to do this fast, you can use a template. If you have a proposal you’ve used before and it delivered incredible results, you can also use it as your template. Typically, a killer sales proposal should include the following:
- Introduction – In this section, you introduce your business, the product or service you’re offering, and your team. Any testimonials or social proof that shows your competency should feature in this section.
- Summary – The summary highlights the client’s problem and how your products and service will tackle the challenge. It sets the pace for the discussion of what you have in store for the customer.
- Market research -You must do thorough market research about their challenges, the market and your competitors.
- Deliverables -In this section, you should share information on how you’ll approach the problem. This will include your goals, timelines and milestones. You should not include in-depth details at this point; you can share such information during the actual meeting.
- Benefits – You must be selective with the language you use in this section. Use the right words to show your prospects what your product or service offers to them. You can win or lose the clients at this stage, so ensure you employ the best tactics to grab their attention.
- Cost -As much as customers want to have their problems solved, they also want to know how much they’ll pay for your product or service. In this case, your pricing should be on par with the quality of the products or services you’re offering.
Do thorough market research
If you desire to close deals faster, you must have a comprehensive understanding of your client and their business. You also need to understand the competitors, the market and any other aspects related to the prospect.
Your sales proposal should include a summary of your findings. This shows the prospect that you value them and their needs. The summary should be brief since they don’t have the time to go through overwhelming information. A few main points and data will be sufficient. In your research, you should establish the following:
- The solutions your prospect was using before and their advantages and downsides.
- Direct and indirect competitors.
- Areas in which the competitors are shining better than your client.
Market research will identify gaps in your prospects’ business and how they can be addressed.
This includes identifying new markets, improving SEO, and the business’ performance.
Know your audience
An ideal sales proposal seeks to identify the client’s problem and develop a solution. Take time and gather relevant information about them, including their business, values, future business plans, motivations and what sets them apart from competitors. Once you’ve understood your customer, craft a proposal that reflects them. When reading it, they should get a feeling that you understand them and their needs.
Be clear with the pricing
How you price your products/services can create or break the deal. Before writing the sales proposal, it’s vital to discuss the budget with the client. This ensures the client won’t get any surprises when reading the document. You can propose alternate pricing structures where possible.
“55% of business deals fail to materialize due to budget issues.” – Sales Statistics
For example, create three pricing options, including the breakdowns, and let the client choose what meets their needs. Presenting this information in a chart or list makes reading easier. Also, be deliberate on where to place the pricing; it should follow the benefits section to help them connect the dots.
Use visuals to your benefit. The human brain processes images very fast. Visual content helps to make information easier to understand besides breaking the monotony of long chunks of text. Proposals with visuals are 43% more persuasive than those without. These visuals include tables, graphs, infographics and flowcharts that break complex information into simple pieces of information.
Such tools will be handy in presenting project roadmaps, present and future business projections, and documenting how the project will be implemented. The visuals should be professional and reflect your brand. The fonts, color scheme and graphics should be cohesive. If possible, use proposal software to come up with quality visuals fast and efficiently.
Include relevant testimonials
Although most individuals overlook this step, testimonials from your past clients can increase your likelihood of winning a deal. These tools are widely used on conversion rate optimization as social proofs.
The main aim of using them is to show your client that your past customers believe in your work. If others trust you, your prospect will have an easy time working with you. Develop the habit of gathering testimonials from your past clients. Send emails to them requesting them to write a few sentences regarding their experience working with you, and if you met their needs.
You can include a case study
A case study can convince your prospects that you’re the right man for the job. It can assure them that they’ll get value on their investment.
The sales process takes longer since customers need to guard themselves against uncertainties.
Although you can’t guess the future, you can show your clients how you’ve helped others in the same situation achieve exceptional results.
If the case study shows how you’ve helped clients get fantastic results on their investment, your new customer will know they can expect the same or better results. The case study will significantly increase your chance of closing the deal.
Although creating a case study is a challenging task, it’s worth the effort. You don’t need a 50-page case study; few paragraphs highlighting the successes will be enough. Always remember to respect and protect your customer’s privacy when writing the case study.
Offer solutions, not deliverables
At times, salespeople dwell on the product and services’ deliverables instead of the client’s problem. The easiest way of winning the prospect is to show you care about their needs.
Your sales proposal should major on the client’s needs and the solution you’re delivering. This is what matters to customers, not an extensive list of features and benefits.
Your aim should be to create a compelling connection between the benefits that your product or services offer and the customer’s problem. They should not struggle to find out how your product/services solve their problem. If this is the case, you’ve already lost the deal.
Include a powerful call-to-action
A call-to-action is the most critical part of a sales proposal; it’s also where most businesses fail. After discussing how you can help the prospect, it’s imperative that you ask them to take action as you conclude your proposal. The call-to-action will vary from client-to-client, but it should aim to seal the deal.
For example, if your customer needs to meet you in person before making the final decision, you should inform them that you’re more than ready to meet them. You can also offer to answer any queries they might have before your meeting. The call-to-action should be clear on what you want from the prospect; it may include prompting them to make a purchasing decision.
Your task doesn’t end after writing the sales proposal. You need to follow-up consistently and deal with any hurdles that may prevent you from closing the deal. For instance, salespeople who respond to inbound links in less than 5 minutes are 100 times more likely to win a prospect—this shows the importance of speed and follow-up in closing deals.
Immediately you’re sure the client has read the proposal, follow-up and know its status. If you can’t figure out when they’ve read it, you can use business proposal software to alert you as soon as the client views the plan.
Following up on the proposal will increase your chances of closing a deal. Plus, the details are fresh in the client’s mind, and they can ask for clarification if needed.
Consistently follow-up on the client until you get a final answer, but avoid looking too desperate or coming across as nagging. Remember, most of your competitors will only follow-up once and retreat if they don’t get a response. This is where you can outshine them.
Over to you!
Although writing a sales proposal can be a daunting task, winning deals becomes easy if you get the step right. And finally, remember your work is not complete until you get the final answer.
- geralt / Pixabay