How to write a sales proposal that wins business. Easy. There’s only one thing you need to do.
That’s what we’ll explore in this article.
Writing a sales proposal is never easy. What should you include? What should you leave out? How long is too long?
All valid questions but none are more important than this.
I don’t mean “a new website”, “sales copy”, “marketing material”.
I mean, what do they REALLY want.
Sure, they might tell you they want more leads, but is that what they really want? Maybe what they actually need is a higher conversion rate.
Maybe that will change what you actually help them with, but it will also get to the truth of why they really got you in to help them.
When we ran our business automation software company, I would routinely dig and dig to find out the real underlying reasons behind why we were asked to come in. It was staggering to discover some of the real reasons. Some of them were shocking.
“I’m going to lose my marriage if I don’t stop working as much”
“I haven’t been to a single one of my kid’s football games”.
“I hate my company”
Once you’re armed with this information, you can begin to present your sales proposal through this honest lens.
What happens when you do this, is your potential client will read your proposal thinking “these guys get it”.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking they want a new website or new software solution. Come on… no-one wants these things. We want a new house or an exotic holiday not some random business service.
The focus of your sales proposal should be writing it, and continually tying it back to what they really want and need.
Let’s assume the guy really wants more time because he hasn’t seen any of his kid’s football games and you’re selling software.
First what NOT to do…
“ABC company will build you some custom software which will automate many of your business’ repetitive tasks. It’ll be a web based system which you’ll be able to access from anywhere”.
Now check this out.
“Building a business is hard. It requires tens of thousands of hours but there has to be a line drawn at some point between your business life and your personal life. In building your business so far, that line has become very blurred and it’s not sustainable. The system we’ll build you will take the 20-hours of repetitive admin tasks you do each week and automate them. This will bring you back to a more regular working week. Because your new business automation system is completely web based, you to have control of your business without being in the office if you like. Yes, you are investing in a business solution, but you’re also investing in a lifestyle solution. Going forward, this will serve as the building blocks for the growth of your business”
You make the exact same points - yes, it’s longer, but which is more compelling?
This goes back to the original point.
Make your potential client FEEL like you’re the right company for them.
Connect with them. They are people with shitty problems in life just like all of us. They’re not always personal, but there’s always a deeper reason than the one they first give you.
It’s not enough to just write a great introduction in your proposal. You’ll need to take that point and hammer it home in as many ways as you possibly can from as many different angles.
It goes without saying that you need to make sure that what you are actually suggesting to them is absolutely what they need and want. If it’s not, no amount of sob stories is going to get you any business.
Always include at least 2 case studies that are relevant to their business in any sales proposal you write. You always want to be connecting it back to your client's situation. To do that, make sure the case study you choose is about a similar industry, similar project or a similar result.
The price needs to be in line with what they are prepared to spend. If their budget is £5,000 and you quote £20,000 in your proposal then you’ve just wasted your time and you’re not going to win the business.
Writing sales proposals in order to win business is a skill. As you develop your business skills in general, this is one of the things you will get better at. You’ll get better at asking the right questions in the meetings and translating that into proposals that win.
To see some examples of proposals that have been used to win business time and time again, you can sign up to Better Proposals free and head over to the Proposal Marketplace and try out any of the templates available. They are free to use and contain all the different example content you need to write a sales proposal that wins the business.