Writing a sales proposal (and having it signed) is the final step in converting a prospect into a customer. However, before you celebrate “deal closed” you’ll want to make it easy for them to complete. After all, you don’t want to waste time writing a detailed proposal only to have it wind up in the “delete” bin.
Too many sales professionals overlook an important – no, essential – part of the proposal.
What’s that you ask? Make it customer-focused. Remind them of all the benefits of working with you and make it easy. Otherwise, you may never hear from them again.
In this post, we’ll cover the 11 key elements of a winning sales proposal. Follow them and even if you’ve never written a sales proposal before, you’ll be able to look like a pro. First, though, you might ask what a sales proposal even is.
What is a Sales Proposal?
At its core, a sales proposal is a written document. Done right, it can help a good deal become an even bigger deal. Part of that “right” is focusing on the results the customer can expect. Good ones are shorter rather than longer and offer a signature to get started. That way, you can tap into your prospect’s excitement at the prospect of solving their problem.
4 Core Elements of a Successful Sales Proposal
1- Know Your Customer – As a salesperson, it’s your job to show the benefits of working together. To do so, you need to know what your customer cares about and what problem they want your company to solve. Show the benefits of working together. Focus on their problem and how you can help solve it.
2- Focus on the Results – People pay for problems solved. Help them do so and show them the results they can expect from working with you.
3-Keep It Short – Your proposal does not need to be War & Peace. Keep it concise and you’re more likely to maintain your prospect’s attention.
4-Have a Signature Line – The best time to close a sale is when your prospect is excited about the prospect of working with you. If you’ve done your job outlining the benefits to them and they’re in line with what matters to them, then they’ll be happy to sign right then.
Now that you’ve been reminded of these high-level elements, let’s look at the complete (and successful) sales proposal package.
11 Tips for the Perfect Sales Proposal
Tip #1 – Focus on Your Prospect’s Objectives – What do your customers want to achieve? How does your solution fit within their goals? Remember to stay focused on them and show how your product/service helps them reach their goals.
Tip #2 Do Not Focus on Deliverables – It’s easy to focus on deliverables. You’ll get 37 templates, 100 hours of instructional videos and a 3-day virtual seminar sounds overwhelming. How will this help me feel better, make more money, have more time?
Tip #3 Keep it Concise – The best proposals are no more than two pages long. Otherwise, you risk having your carefully crafted proposal be ignored. Now, if your deal is more complex and expensive you may need to beyond that but don’t artificially bloat a simple deal just to look “important.”
Tip #4 Give Options – There’s a reason you often see three options when you go to buy something. Those “Beginner,” “Middle”, and “Rolls Royce” options position a product or service in your buyer’s mind and helps them make a selection based on where they see themselves. You may be surprised, you may find you sell your higher priced offering more if you present it as an option.
But don’t give too many. Psychologists say too many options is confusing. Known as The Paradox of Choice, too many choices can confuse your prospective buyer.
Tip #5 – Do Give Them a Signature Line – Make it easy for your prospect to take the next step. If you’ve done your job well within the proposal, they’ll be happy to sign right away producing those “feel good” endorphins we all get when we buy something and check things off our “to do” list.
Tip #6 – Outline – Do you need more customer research? Do you need data to back up your facts? Draft a quick outline and you’ll see where any gaps are so you can fill them.
Tip #7 Using Templates – Like many things in business, sales proposals can be templated. Once you have a simple format to follow and understand your customer’s psychology, then you can adapt your content accordingly.
Tip #8 Use Visuals When Appropriate – If you’re selling a complex product. Graph charts and other visuals can help break it down for your prospects. After all, pictures are worth 1000 words as the saying goes. You might be surprised to learn that brains actually process images 60,000 times faster than text.
Tip #9 – Include an About Section – It’s customary at the end of a proposal to include a short “about” section on your company. This should be a killer bio section that includes what sets you apart from the competition and the results you’ve helped your clients achieve.
Tip #10 Pricing Details – What’s a sales proposal without pricing? Include the pricing details in your proposal including payment terms so it’s clear. After all, if you require a deposit or have a policy about late payment penalties, it’s good to have that stated upfront.
Tip #11 Policies and Any Regulations – These can be simple or highly complex depending on your product or service and they’re important to let your prospect know.
Once you craft your winning sales proposal, it’s useful if you can deliver it in real-time. Whether in person or via video conferencing, when you go over it with your prospect, you can a) ensure they make time to look at it and b) answer any questions that arise. It’s a more powerful approach than simply winging your proposal via the interwebz and hoping for a positive response.
Of course, before you can get to the proposal writing stage, you need to nurture your prospects and you need a good CRM to do so. AgileCRM helps you track your pipeline and close more deals so you can grow your business.