Anatomy of a Sales Proposal
We often get questions from our customers about how they can create attention-grabbing proposals for their businesses. We hear questions like, “What are some best practices for writing a sales proposal”, or “How can I write a proposal that sells”. These questions are quickly followed by a discussion of some basic, but powerful ingredients that go into a winning sales proposal. Read on to learn some valuable proposal building secrets!
Thinking about a proposal as if it were a resume can be really helpful. Remember back to the days when you interviewed for your first serious job and how you wanted to look fantastic on paper. You wanted to make sure to included everything that would make you a good fit for the position while at the same time showing how your unique personality and experience would fit that position like no one else. You wanted to be absolutely sure that you stood out from the crowd. Proposals aren’t much different from that approach. You should include things like past experience, your specialties, and business referrals and testimonials. Also, a simple way to differentiate your proposal from the competitors is to deliver your proposal online with elegance using a proposal service such as Proposable.
Start with the “Why”, not the “What”
Including your company’s mission statement is important because it will convey to your prospect the “why” of your business; Why are passionate about what you do? Customers want to hear that you are passionate about your craft, or your product, or your service. Its a true statement that people don’t buy “what” you do, they buy “why” you do it. Make them believe that your heart is in it. This can then be followed by the “what” – a menu of all products and services you offer including descriptive images and even video to help tell the story. It’s always nice for the customer to see exactly what they’re getting, especially if you’re building something custom or selling something that’s intangible.
Be sure to include visual references such as:
- logos of technology to be used
- Video and images of tools or hardware you plan to use
- Video testimonials
- Framework or process management
A definite Must Have for your professional looking proposal is showing the strength of your team and organization. Be sure to include profiles and detailed relevant experience in your About Us section. Always maintain your brand awareness by including your logo and company information in the proposal. This is a key component because if you are competing for business, your logo will be more prominent and will stick in their minds when they make a final buying decision.
Tell a Story
A sure-fire way to connect personally with your prospect is to provide a real-life customer experience that demonstrates how your product or service solves a real problem for real people. Adding a story or “case study” of your customer’s problem and how you solved it will help them understand your process and connect on a organic level to you and your solution. With Proposable you have the ability to attach a PDF case study to each and every proposal or add a video testimonial from one of your happy clients.
Keep your customers aware that you are active in social media and other industry related blogs to show that you are keeping up with technology and competitors. This also includes trade associations or organizations that are recognizable in the industry in your proposal. This is a good way of showing that you are keeping up with industry standards and best practices.
We also tell some of our customers to create a handful of videos that pertain to the service or product that you are trying to offer, this is a great way to add a whole new level of personalization and sizzle to your proposal.
Remind your customer why you’re the industry leader and make them feel comfortable with choosing you as the expert. Tell them about specific issues or problems that you will resolve making sure that you’re aware of their pain points. This is a great way to show that you are on the same page and that you can deliver results.
What Will You deliver?
Once your customer receives the proposal, they tend to look at what they are getting and how much it will cost. It’s a great idea to break down exactly what the customer will be getting and how they will get it. By including the proposal scope of work and list of deliverables, you will give them an idea of how your company works and when the project will be completed. Also, including things like who their project manager will be gives them even more confidence your team is organized and ready to handle their business.
Call them to Action
Sending a proposal to a customer is half the battle while getting them to actually accept it is the other other looming hurdle. Using a tool like Proposable to get your proposal accepted quickly online is a big advantage as it allows your prospect to quickly accept and digitally sign their name on the proposal, removing any extra friction that would keep them from sealing the deal. Putting a time restriction on the proposal pricing can also be a good weapon in your proposal arsenal to encourage your prospect to action. “Estimate is only good for 15 days” will add a level of urgency to the proposal and can get them to commit to a purchasing decision.
At first writing a business proposal can be challenging, but once you come up with your main content, things get easier. We’ve already done some heavy lifting for your by creating a growing list of FREE Business Proposal Templates for your quotes, bids or estimates.
Still need help creating good proposal content or coming up with an elegant design? Are you looking for ways to write a proposal that sells? Whether you need help building a Proposal, Quote, Bid, Estimate, or RFP response, Proposable will work closely with you and your team to create a professional sales proposal that will win more deals.