Proposal Language: What to Write to Get your Clients to Sign
Gaining new clients doesn’t have to be a hassle. If you’ve read our guides on conducting successful discovery meetings and calls, you already know how to ace the first step of your proposal process.
When you get the request for a business proposal, you’ll have to deepen the initial connection with a well-crafted document. Having our beautiful proposal templates to rely on, the whole process will be quick and easy.
A great way to show the importance of your proposal and the benefits you could bring to your client is with purposeful language. In this article, we’ll explain how to utilize language to create a high-quality proposal your clients won’t be able to turn down.
Keep the language simple
We know you want to use your proposal to show off your expertise and how you’re the right person for the job. However, you shouldn’t go overboard with the technical jargon.
Your clients won’t understand all the technical details so it’s best to avoid them altogether. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t detail your solution, it just means that you should be careful with the words you choose.
If, for example, you’re offering SEO services, you should mention why having a better ranking on Google is so important. With that being said, there is no need to go into detail about how you’re going to use Ahrefs to find lost links from your competitors and try to claim them.
While writing your proposal, think about the level of technical knowledge your clients have and make sure the content you write is understandable. A good trick is to write out your proposal and then send it to a friend who isn’t in the same industry as you. If they have trouble understanding certain points, simplify them.
It’s important your proposal speeds up the sales process, instead of lengthening it. That’s why you need to create a document that is easy to get through and doesn’t require interpreting.
Focus on the client’s needs and not your offer
One of the most common mistakes people make when writing proposals is writing too much about themselves, instead of focusing on what the client wants to hear. Put yourself in your client’s shoes. They’ve found a problem with their business process and are reaching out to you for a solution.
Your clients have probably researched you and your company before starting any communication with you. There is no need to use up proposal space to reintroduce yourself or talk yourself up.
Make sure that the focus of your proposal is on the benefits they can expect from your solution. After all, you need to sell them a service and the best way to do so is by showing that you understand your client’s situation and have a clear plan for them.
They want to know what happens after you help them:
- Will it bring them more revenue?
- How quickly will they see results?
- Will it increase the number of clients and sales?
- How much time will you free up in their workdays?
Write out how your client will be able to transform their business with your solution. If you exclusively talk about your process and which steps you’ll take, without relaying it to the issue at hand, you’ll lose your client’s attention very quickly.
Choose your tone of voice based on the client
Depending on how your discovery meeting went, you’ll be able to determine the tone of your proposal. Was the client chatty and wanted to get to know you before you got down to work or were they only interested in work?
If you’re creating a proposal for the government, you will have to be professional and formal. There is no space for casual language in these types of proposals. However, if you’re creating a creative proposal for a private company, you can let loose and include warmer, less formal language.
The words you choose are important, so make sure to put focus on how you say things, as well as what you say.
A tip we have is to avoid placing blame anywhere in your proposal. A lot of people start their proposal introduction by explaining how the client made a mistake by not reaching out to you earlier. We understand that people who use this tactic are trying to present their skills and the importance of their solution.
However, the only thing you’ll achieve with this type of proposal introduction is alienating your clients. They don’t like to hear any criticism of their business dealings, so make sure to keep your document positive.
Once you decide on the tone of voice, think about the type of emotions your content is invoking. Ideally, you’d want your clients to feel hopeful as they’re reading your proposal. Furthermore, think about your word choice.
You should try and utilize more persuasive language.
Examples of persuasive writing
In order to further demonstrate the power of your persuasive words, we’ve created a handy guide.
|Non-persuasive words||Persuasive words|
|I think||I know|
|It seems like||In particular|
|It could result in||As a result|
|The reasoning could be||For this reason|
|I would say||From my experience|
As you can see, confidence is key. You need to position yourself as an authority in your industry. The best way to do so is by having confidence in your own abilities and offer. Don’t second guess yourself in your proposal and don’t underestimate your skills.
Pay attention to the key terms
Before you start writing your proposal, make an outline which includes keywords. We’re not talking about words that would help you rank better on search engines, we’re talking about words that hold a lot of power and help you demonstrate the benefits of your solution.
These words will depend on your industry, client and issue at hand. Most commonly they are
- Time tables
- Monthly recurring revenue
- Customer lifetime value
As we’ve mentioned before, the focus of your proposal needs to be on the benefits and the value you’re bringing to your clients. Although you’re offering a service that will affect one part of their business, you need to be able to provide the bigger picture.
Not only should you present how your solution will solve the problem at hand, but also how it will lead to scaling the business and providing more time for your clients to focus on more important things.
There are some words that automatically make your clients shut down. One of them is price.
Research also shows that payment isn’t a great option. It’s emotionally charged and can lower your conversion rates.
You don’t want to cheapen your business proposal by making it seem like a regular invoice. That is why we always suggest that you think about how you’re going to name your pricing section.
As you can read in our proposal report, which analyzes the proposals that get sent through our platform, which can yearly amount to $1,480,000,000, you should think about utilizing words like investment and ROI.
They evoke much more positive emotions, which is important when presenting your price.
Use the best copywriting formulas
Your proposal needs to have a flow. You want your clients to be able to easily go through your documents and a great way to do that is with a logical structure. If you’re using Better Proposals, you won’t have to worry about creating a proposal from scratch.
All of our proposal templates come with a prepared structure and content you can easily customize to your needs. We purposely wanted to write out every proposal template, instead of just offering you an outline, in order to speed up your sales process.
We also do this so you wouldn’t have to think too hard about copywriting. If you follow our template, you’ll create a great story centred around your client’s problem and the benefits you can create for them.
If you’re interested in other ways of conveying your message, you’ve probably researched different ways of presenting your offer. Even if this isn’t the case, let’s go over a few popular copywriting formulas.
Problem – Agitate – Solve (PAS)
This formula is pretty easy – firstly you identify a problem, secondly, you agitate the said problem and lastly, you solve the problem.
It’s a popular copywriting strategy for creating social media posts. Generally, you would start by translating a product’s features into problems they solve. Start by explaining that you understand your client’s problems.
It makes it easy for them to keep their attention. However, don’t go straight into your solution. Instead, present the possible problems and hurdles the problem at hand could create if it doesn’t get solved soon.
At first, it may create confusion and more admin work for the client’s company and later it could lead to lower rates of sales and in turn a low annual revenue. After you’ve shown what the future without you might look like, start delving into your solution.
Explain how it’ll solve the problem at hand, create tangible value and provide benefits for your clients.
Make sure to end on a clear CTA and outline your next steps.
The four U’s
The four U’s refer to the terms –
That means that you should start your content by being useful to the reader, then creating a sense of urgency, describing how your solution is unique and making sure you’re ultra-specific.
Start by showing the benefits. Make sure you’re specific – how will you solve the problem and create value for your clients. Secondly, create a sense of urgency. This could be accomplished by setting a deadline. Outline how long your offers stand and how much time your clients have to accept them.
After that, show how your solution is unique. No need to mention your competitors, but if you have a unique selling point that sets you apart, mention it. While writing your content, make sure you’re ultra-specific.
Attention – Interest – Desire – Action (AIDA)
This formula is very commonly used in proposal writing. The idea is to start by grabbing your reader’s attention, wow them with information that appeals to them, showcase your solution and ask for an action.
It’s a great formula because it keeps your client’s attention and makes sure your focus on constantly on the right thing – benefits.
Start your proposal by instantly grabbing your reader’s attention. Think about the emotions you’re evoking and make sure you’re using direct and actionable language. It’s important to avoid any fluff. Every sentence should bring new information or serve a specific purpose.
After that, spark interest by detailing your solution and how it will benefit your client. Your approach should be personalized, so don’t recycle your proposals. The only way you’ll be able to create such content is by understanding your client as well as their audience.
Next, generate desire. This could be done by outlining all the benefits you will create for your clients, as well as the uniqueness of your approach or anything else. At this point, it’s a great time to utilize social proof. A review from your previous clients or a short case study will do the trick.
While presenting your offer, make sure you’re not going overboard by being too promotional.
The last thing is to include a call to action. Don’t spend the time and energy creating a proposal without outlining what the next steps should be. If you’re using Better Proposals, it will be signing the document with a digital signature, paying the first fee and whatever else you need.
You can’t be using vague language here. This section needs to be short and straight to the point.
Having a great offer is important, but knowing how to present it is essential. You need to know how to build a relationship with your clients, how to evoke the right emotions and get them to agree to your proposal.
If you liked our guide, make sure to sign up for a free 2-week trial and experience the ease of creating business proposals your clients won’t avoid reading.
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