Sometimes it can take months before a prospect is ready to meet with you and hear your offer. Nurturing prospects is hard work and often entails a team effort, but it’s all for nothing if you can’t convert with a sales proposal.
That’s the last hurdle – getting your prospect to accept your proposal and buy. The sales meeting is often critical in terms of convincing the prospect of your company’s value.
…And you cinch the deal with an attention-grabbing sales proposal.
If you can nail that, then your chances of converting prospects increase exponentially. Here are some fundamental principles and tips to follow when drafting your sales proposal.
Sales Proposal Tip # 1 – Get A Verbal Commitment First
When a prospect says: “Send me a proposal,” they are often just blowing you off to get off the phone. In our process, before sending a written proposal, we’ll cover as much detail as possible over the phone to make sure we’re all on the same page.
When they ask us to send them a proposal, we’ll say: “Based on everything we’ve covered so far, do you see any reason why you would not move forward?”
When multiple decision-makers are involved (i.e., “decision by committee”), ask the person on the phone, “If it was up to you, would you move forward with this deal?”
Until you get a “yes” to that type of question, a proposal is futile.
Engage in your sales conversation fully, and don’t send a proposal until the prospect verbally commits to moving forward with the deal. This will help you flesh out all of the critical elements of the deal and answer any objections before the proposal.
Our golden rule is that you must either receive a verbal commitment before submitting a written proposal OR deliver the proposal by phone/Zoom (not by email).
Sales Proposal Tip # 2 – Create an Outline
Not all clients want to hear the same thing, so tailor each sales proposal accordingly. A custom sales proposal has a better chance of converting clients than a generic one. Always start by creating an outline. This will make it easier for you to condense your pitch.
You don’t want to waste your client’s time – or your own. The outline phase is a chance to get rid of extra stuff and focus on what’s necessary.
A sales proposal needs to touch on six key points:
- A brief introduction to your business and services
- A summary where you discuss the client issues/concerns that your product addresses
- A detailed approach, including objectives and timelines
- The benefits or value in using your services
- A detailed pricing overview
Make sure that your sales proposal contains these key points. Offer enough detail to grab your prospect’s attention – but save enough information to share in the meeting.
Spending time to create an outline is not just for the prospect’s benefit. The outline should also help you organize your thoughts and create a logical, easy-to-follow pitch. With a solid outline, things should go much smoother during the actual meeting.
Sales Proposal Tip # 3 – Focus on the Prospect’s Problem (Rather Than Your Product’s Features)
Many salespeople fail to convert prospects into clients…
Why? Because they focus too much on deliverables.
When building a sales proposal, you have to show that you can solve existing problems.
Even more important, you have to show that you understand your client’s problems.
To this end, do your customer and market research to discover your client’s pain points or needs. Ask yourself how you can solve these issues better than your competitors. This is essential for building a valuable proposal and offering a solution that prospects can’t pass up.
Sometimes potential clients don’t even know what problems their company has! They only know that they need help in a particular department.
Make it your mission to figure out the hidden problems your prospect may not be aware of.
Of course, you still need to talk about features… Just concentrate on the most impactful benefits of your product or service. Put the features into context and talk about how they’ll fix the problems in your prospect’s business.
Mention how you can offer a solution, but don’t expand too much on the answer just yet. Instead, focus on explaining why your client’s problems are preventing their business from growing.
Sales Proposal Tip # 4 – Leave Jargon Out
Clarity is one of the most important aspects of any sales proposal. Your words can grab attention – or confuse and bore the reader. While you do want to sound professional, avoid overdoing the jargon.
Sounding too technical or using too many acronyms can put off many prospects. Keep the business lingo to a minimum and explain things in natural, everyday language.
Also avoid sounding too salesy. Using too much jargon is bad enough. It’s even worse if you’re confusing and pushy at the same time.
Sales Proposal Tip # 5 – Be Transparent with Pricing
Keep your pricing transparent and illustrate how you’re worth it because you offer more value than the competition.
Be sure to offer options in terms of services and pricing plans. That way, your prospects get to see that you have a lot to offer – and they also feel like they have more choice in the matter.
Offer three options instead of one, all at different price points. Creating a sense of choice can lead to signing a more significant contract in the end. This can also make prospects feel like there’s no need to check out the competition.
Think of it as competing against yourself as you offer multiple options.
Sales Proposal Tip # 6 – Distill the Key Benefits in the Executive Summary
Remember the outline mentioned above? One of the most critical sections of the sales proposal checklist is the executive summary. After you provide a brief overview of your company, explain how you can solve your prospect’s unique problems.
It’s best to do this before explaining each product and service in detail. Not everyone reads lengthy sales proposal documents. It helps if you can grab the reader’s attention at the beginning.
The best way to do this is through an executive summary. Keep it short so it’s not dull, but condense the detailed information into something relatively bite-sized that gets your message across quickly. This won’t always be easy – that’s why you need experienced salespeople on your team.
Writing a perfect sales proposal still takes time and effort, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible…
Always start small with the outline, and have a clear vision of your goals for the proposal. Know the right tone to use and when to use it. Finally, learn to condense information. Transparent pricing is always essential, even if you think it might not be to your advantage. Combine these elements, and you’ll be well on your way to a winning proposal that converts prospects into buying customers.
If you need help drafting proposals or want more business coaching, assistance is not far away! Sign up for free business coaching lessons at predictableprofits.com.