Many salespeople dread putting together sales proposals. They spend hours crafting proposals that ultimately never lead to business. This is entirely avoidable: Following a proven five-step checklist for creating sales proposals lets you guarantee your proposals will create value for your prospects -- while enabling you to close bigger deals.
The vast majority of salespeople make the same common mistakes when writing proposals. The following five guidelines will help you avoid these. Get ready to dominate the competition.
1) Keep the proposal short.
The longer your proposal is, the less likely your prospects are to read the entire document. In fact, prospects will feel like you’re giving them work to do if you hand them a 40-page proposal to review. Keep your proposal as short as possible. If your proposals are currently hovering around 20 pages, can you cut your next one down to 15? How about 10? The fewer pages the better (as long as you’re including all the necessary details that create value for your prospects).
2) Customize your proposal template.
Every prospect wants to feel special. When you use boilerplate lines in your proposals, your prospects feel undervalued and disrespected. It’s OK to use the same basic template for all your proposals, but tailor the language and details where appropriate.
In addition, you don’t want to make it difficult for prospects to figure out which information is actually important. With that in mind, only include information that’s relevant to the specific prospect.
3) Highlight outcomes.
What should be the main focus of your proposal? The answer is simple: Outcomes. Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is focusing on the features and benefits of their product or service.
Instead, center your proposals around what your offering will help the prospect achieve, including specific outcomes and how you plan to make them a reality.
4) Present three different options.
The old-school single-option proposal is outdated and ineffective. If you want to close more sales, present three different options in your proposals.
By including three proposals at different price levels, you’ll enable your prospect to weigh the options with you, rather than weighing the options with one of your competitors. In addition, you provide context by offering solutions to your prospect’s deepest frustrations at a lower-end price, a mid-tier price, and a higher-end price. You’ll be surprised at how many prospects choose your premium option.
5) Make the proposal a contract.
If you’ve ever given a proposal to prospect, gotten a verbal agreement to move forward, and then had the deal fall apart during contract negotiations -- you’re not alone. This is a common issue for all salespeople who don’t make their proposals into contracts. You can easily avoid this pitfall by including a contract section at the end of each contract, with a space for the prospect to sign, and payment terms carefully explained.
Implement these five strategies, and your close rate will increase dramatically. Which of these do you find the most helpful? Share below in the comments. Check out this free 1-Minute Sales Strengths-Finder Quiz for more strategies to transform your sales.