The next time your boss or team leader asks you to write up a quick, convincing proposal for your client, you’ll know what to say in response. You already have a pretty solid business proposal case in your head—a plan for how to “sell” your product or service—so all you need to do is figure out how to communicate it in a way that can inspire people to agree with you.
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What is a Business Proposal?
It’s similar to a pitch deck but tailored for the customer. In a business proposal, you’ll present your product or service to potential customers in the most effective way to convince them to make a decision to do business with you.
Creating a Business Proposal
Three simple tips to help you create a persuasive proposal:
Keep your proposal message short
When you first draft your business proposal, you may feel like you need to include all details you can think of, so you can make sure it hits every vital point. But what’s the point? The most persuasive business proposals tend to be brief and specific, as they get right to the heart of your argument. Your customers won’t have time to read through a five-page document; if they don’t know what they’re signing up for, they’re unlikely to agree to it. But if you can explain a key concept concisely, they’ll probably understand the entire proposal, too. So keep it short and sweet.
This is important because a long business proposal is likely to be ignored no matter how well written.
Choose your target audience wisely
You might have an awesome, persuasive business case in your head, but if your audience has no idea who you are or what your company does, it’s hard to imagine they’ll ever agree with you. If there are a limited number of people that can potentially buy from you—like, say, 10 people in the sales team—you’ll have a much better chance of success. But if your potential audience includes a large number of people, your chances of persuading them will go way down.
For example, consider the average office coffee machine: When I walked into my office last week, I discovered that it had been upgraded to a sleek new model, and everyone loved it. It was a good machine, and it looked like a good investment. But the fact that the machine was shiny and new, and the company that made it was the most expensive, didn’t mean that it was necessarily the best deal. That’s because, although I knew how to operate it, most of my coworkers didn’t.
In this case, it wasn’t enough that the coffee was great; the company needed to prove that it was worth the extra money they charged. So make sure you can sell your business case to your targeted audience, or you won’t be able to persuade them to buy. Consider target audience analysis.
Keep it concise and compelling
Your customers are busy people with a lot going on—so don’t assume that they have the time to read through a five-page document. But if they can understand and agree with your proposal in just three pages or so, they’re more likely to sign up than if they have to read through a 50-page business proposal.
When writing your proposal, think about ways to make it easier for people to understand what you’re saying. For example, instead of writing “I need you to write me a compelling business case for my new product,” you could write “Write me a compelling business case for my new product by Thursday.” Then you won’t have to think about how to make your argument anymore; you can get straight down to business. Customers are busy people with a lot going on—so don’t assume that they have the time to read through a five-page document.
Lastly, remember that people buy from people—so don’t just write a great business proposal; write a proposal that people will want to read. When writing your business proposal, keep your message short and to the point. And think about ways you can make it easier for people to understand what you’re saying.
Sales is a very fast-paced environment, and it can be hard to find the time to get everything that needs doing. If you’re in this position, it can be tempting to throw out some half-baked ideas and hope they turn into something that will help the business succeed. But if you don’t take the time to consider how well they’ll work in practice carefully, they’re likely to fail—and that means your company will fail as well. So ask yourself: Do these ideas sound good to you? Do they make sense in theory? Can they be implemented in your organisation? If not, why not? What other ways can you solve this problem?
Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a short time.
Practice, practice, practice. Writing a good sales proposal isn’t easy—but it is absolutely possible to do. We have a creating a business proposal template that be helpful.
Other sales checklists: Sales Person Checklist to Help Improve Sales and Sales Lead Generation Checklist