A well-crafted sales proposal will not only help you stand out from the competition; it will help you close more business, capture more sales and make more money.
The other night I spoke to a group of sales people and the topic of focus was creating a compelling sales proposal. Not everyone who sells a product or service needs to write proposals; however, many people do hear, “Send me some information” from a prospect.
Here are 7 things you can do to create a kick-ass proposal that will stand out from your competition.
1. Make the first page count
The majority of sales proposals I read start with the seller talking about his or her company. They usually open with details such as how long the company has been in business, who their clients are, what awards they have won, how innovative they are, etc.
But, your prospects don’t care about this. They really don’t.
What they want to know is, “Can this person help me solve a problem?”
Address that question by putting the following three pieces of information on your first page;
A brief summary of the prospect’s situation
The key objectives your prospect wants to achieve
The value in meeting those objectives.
The reason you want to place all of this information on the first page is to capture your prospect’s attention. And the reason it is effective is because it is all about them. Not you!
This approach demonstrates that you have an accurate understanding of their situation, what they want to accomplish and how that will affect their business.
2. Use headings
Your prospects are busy people, just like you are. Make it easy for them to find specific information by using headings throughout the proposal.
For example, I use a heading for each of the three points on the first page (Situation Summary, Key Objectives, Value) and heading for the remaining items such as Solution, ROI, Guarantee, Investment, etc.
Headings also break up the page and make your proposal easier to read just like a good article or blog post.
3. Include testimonials or endorsements
Ever watch an infomercial? Notice how they make liberal use of endorsements and testimonials?
You can do the same thing in your proposals. You can sprinkle them throughout and include them in each section other than on the first page (you don’t want anything to distract your prospect from reading the first page).
Be careful not to get carried away, though. Testimonials should reinforce key points, not take over the entire proposal.
4. Address the risk factor
Most new prospects will have some hesitation about moving forward with your solution, especially if you are unknown to them.
Be proactive and address the potential risk by outlining how you will reduce their risk. I usually do this by offering a guarantee on the services I am offering.
You can do the same. Perhaps a trial offer, money-back guarantee, or some other offer that will help your mitigate any risk issues your prospect is dealing with.
5. Keep it brief
One mistake that many people make is including too much information in their sales proposals. When I acquired my first client more than a decade ago, I asked her what factors influenced her decision and she said, “Your proposal was short and easy to read and it addressed everything I was looking for.”
Apparently, one sales training company sent her a 24 page proposal. Twenty-four pages! Who has time to read that?
I strongly suggest that your proposals don’t exceed three or four pages. You can pack a lot of information onto four pages; the key is to include ONLY necessary relevant information.
6. Conclude with a specific call to action
The worst way to finish a proposal is to say something like, “If you have any questions give me a call.”
I used to do this and my re-connection ratio was brutal. Now I get agreement on the next steps BEFORE I send a proposal and my ability to re-connect with prospects is almost 100 percent. Here is what I say in the last line of my proposals,
“Mike, as discussed I will call you next Tuesday morning at 10:15 AM to review this proposal and to discuss the next steps.”
7. Use a P.S.
Research has shown that most people will read a P.S. in a sales letter. I typically use a testimonial here and I try to use one that relates to the prospect’s company, industry or goals they want to accomplish.
By the way, you can also use these steps when a prospect says, “Send me information.” Rather than sending them a marketing brochure or product catalogue, create a kick-ass sales proposal.
A well-crafted sales proposal will not only help you stand out from the competition; it will also help you close more business, capture more sales and make more money.
About the author
As President of The Robertson Training Group, Kelley has helped thousands of sales professionals…