Proposals are a key part of doing business, but many of us are unsure how to write a good proposal, or are using them in the wrong way. Here are some ways you may be using proposals incorrectly, and how we think you should write a great proposal.

You are focusing on the features of your product

Just like on your sales interview, you need to keep the focus on the buyer and the issues they are facing. If you spend too much time talking about the features of your business, how you operate and what your product does you may lose them. All they really care about is their problems and how you can solve them.

You are focusing on the price

Yes the price is always important, but remember, they are buying you first, your solution second and the price comes right at the end. If you focus too much on the price, and how cost effective your solution is, they may forget the reasons they were considering going ahead with your offering.

If you have shown the return on investment (ROI), then the cost of your solution should hopefully be a fraction of the potential gain, from going ahead or potential loss from not acting.

You aren’t setting the next step

Always remember to set the next step, let them know that you will be in touch to get feedback on the proposal and answer any questions they may have. If you send it through and say “let me know what you think” or "get back to me when you can" you may be waiting a long time.

You are offering a proposal as a way out

It can be an easy out if you are unsure of how a sales interview is going to say “Hey I’ll just send you through some information” the prospect may even say that to you. But it is key to keep control of the sale at this stage, if you hear this a good response would be -

No problem, I will send you through a proposal, is it OK to give you a call on …. To see what you thought and answer any questions you may have?”

Our advice if you haven’t managed to uncover a need or shown the return on investment, is to send out a proposal with no price. This way they aren’t getting a price with no ROI to compare it to.

Writing a Great Proposal

The key with proposals is to keep them simple, yes all businesses are different and some require more detailed proposals but the key is to focus on

  • The issues they are facing that were raised in the sales interview
  • the benefits to the prospect if they do go ahead
  • the return on investment.

A good proposal template would include

  • Thanking the client for their time
  • Outlining the key issue they are facing
  • Showing the cost to them if they don’t act  (ROI and Cost of Problem Analysis)
  • Outlining your solution
  • Setting the next step

You may require more detailed outlines of how your product works, some information on your business structure etc, but this is supplementary and should come after.

Keep your proposals simple, sell the prospect on the solution, the benefits they will receive and you will close more sales.

I hope you have a productive and profitable month.

Hayden Burgess


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