The Path to a Powerful Proposal

The proposal hour is often the least favorite part of a salesperson’s day. But with a little forethought, these documents can be the doorway to exciting new opportunities. Here’s how to create powerful proposals headed for a sale instead of the recycle bin:

Solution for sale

Is your prospective client interested specifically in your product or service, or do they have a problem they need to solve in the best way possible? By focusing on the client’s situation instead of your own features, immediately the proposal becomes more intriguing. It is no longer a sales pitch, but a solution

What you hear

At the beginning of your proposal, state the parameters that the client set, the specifics of the problem that they are trying to solve. This demonstrates that you were listening, and that you really grasp what they need.

It’s not about you

Read through your latest proposal – how many times do you say ‘I’ or ‘we’ or your company name? Flip your sentences around and the proposal is now about the reader and their needs.

Who IS it about

Will your proposal be read by a committee? A busy decision maker or a layperson? Will they appreciate an online presentation or will they want to read in print? Can you personalize the proposal with their colors or logo? The more you can find out about the reader of your proposal, the better chance you will have

Short and sweet

Your proposal should answer all the questions and present your solution in as concise a way as possible. Prospects have no time to sift through irrelevant information, and you want to be associated with results not frustration.

Be organized

Use headers, bullet points and summaries to help your readers locate key information. Many decision makers will skim the details, seeking only how you can solve their problem and what it will cost

Give options

Without being too wordy, offer not just one but three solutions. People with choices feel in control. If your proposal already gives them a choice, they are less likely to look elsewhere for an alternative. By presenting the most expensive option first, you create a sense of value by the time they get to the third

Call to action

A closing line such as “For further information…” is non-committal and blah. Close instead with a definitive date for follow up, or with a signature line to invite your prospect to close the deal there and then.

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