What is a Sales Proposal?
A sales proposal is your company’s offer to provide a good or service to a potential buyer at a specified cost and by a specified time. The purpose of a business proposal is to describe what you are offering in a favorable light, to demonstrate that your product would be a wise investment for them and finally, to illustrate that it will help them achieve their business goals.
Business Proposal vs. Business Plan
Often the terms “business proposal” and “business plan” are used interchangeably, giving you the impression that they are one and the same. But they are not. A business proposal is created to offer a product or service to a buyer or client, while a business plan is a “formal statement of a set of business goals” and how these would be achieved.
Why do customers request proposals?
May just be a formality or customer is 100% sold, has buying authority, but needs a rubber stamp approval from someone higher. Or customer is 100% sold, but may not have the authority and needs to convince superiors to make the buy. It can also be that customer has no authority, is neutral, and willing to deliver the information to the decision-maker. Your customer has decided on a competitor and needs your proposal to satisfy a multiple bid policy.
The 6 Rules for Writing a Better Business Proposal
- Be Concise: When in doubt, strike it out.
- KISS: Keep it simple, salesperson! Use simple language and write like you speak.
- Take small bites: Break your writing into digestible chunks.
- Listen to yourself: Read what you’ve written out loud both to yourself and someone else. You’ll be surprised what you hear.
- Check and double check your work: Proofread, proofread, proofread!
- Have fun: Make your writing fun to read and let it reflect your personality.
The Procedure for a Great Business Proposal
Find out about your potential client by talking to them, reading their mission statement and researching them – as well as learning how they make decisions. This will reveal the “buttons” that you’ll need to press as you describe the benefits of the partnership (ie. more profits, something new to offer their clients, giving their business a new edge on competition, etc.).
2. Irresistible Offer:
Make an offer they can’t refuse. Again, this will also take some research, but within reason, you should bend over backwards to accommodate your potential client Remember that the clients you acquire from will purchase from you again and again – and it’s usually the “back end profit” after the first deal is where the real money gets made…
3. Make It Easy to Accept:
Make it as easy as possible for them to say “yes”. People in generally are lazy. Many proposals have been rejected simply because they either seem too complicated – or it sounds like too much work, regardless of how lucrative they are. Simplify your proposal, and if necessary, take on the majority of the workload – remember that you’re sitting on a goldmine!
4. Where is the Money?
Don’t be vague when it comes to potential earnings. Logically explain to your clients how much they could reasonably earn from the business. It is very important that you do not simply make an “educated guess” – base your predictions entirely on your current marketing stats, sales conversion rates and other real data.
5. Informal Approach:
Be personal. A “canned” or impersonal proposal likely won’t even make it more than ten seconds before getting tossed in the garbage. Relate to your prospect and emphasize their values by validating their interests, goals and passions. Also, if you want to really make an impact, send your proposal as a hard copy via UPS or FedEx. Email is simply too easy to ignore, erase or forget about. Add a real sense of urgency. You want to subtly hint to your client that you won’t wait long to hear back from them. Word this in such a way that it compels them to take action either way – but don’t be overbearing, deceptive or unrealistic.
6. Build Relationship:
Build rapport with your prospect. You must understand that the majority of business people – especially those that are very successful – would much rather work with someone that they know, like and trust than a complete stranger.
What are your views for a better business proposal? Share them with us in the comments below.