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Influencers Invited Sales Blog

Closing a Deal – The Proposal

Countless proposals are submitted every day, but many of the sales professionals that write them don’t tick the fundamental boxes that enable them to stay in the running to win the business. Whether this happens as a result of deficient research or preparation, failing to deliver an adequate proposal is unacceptable. You’ve earned the right to present your case, so give this stage the commitment it deserves.

Being precise and relaying your knowledge throughout your proposal is essential. Everything from this point on could make the difference between a win or falling short. By over-complicating your proposal document you may unwittingly be ruling yourself and your service out, so keep things simple, honest and clear.

Promise Only What You Can Deliver

A proposal is just that, proposing your service or product and how it will enhance the process of your potential customer. If you get too waylaid with pricing and costs the proposal becomes an estimate which may go straight in the waste paper bin or deleted items folder.

This document is an opportunity for you to give your customer an insight into how perfect it would be to work with your product or service. You need to display just how well you know their business and how this relationship would be highly beneficial. By this stage of the process, you should have gained an impressive amount of insight into the company you are propositioning. This will all be key to writing a concise, passionate and well researched proposal.

A proposal needs to display your plan, your ROI and your knowledge.

Trying to look at every single proposal document with fresh eyes can be challenging, but there is one key thing to remember: A proposal needs to be shaped to its audience. Some customers dictate the proposal structure themselves, but they still need to receive the key pieces of information that shape a proposal. Creating an internal template can ensure whoever is creating the proposal gives the necessary information, but be certain to leave room for creativity and customisation.

Format & Style

Discuss the knowledge you have of the customer’s company, processes, influences and competitors. Discuss their size, scope, turnover, and current performance levels. Discuss their gaps, as well as what’s in place and why. They will receive lots of proposals that all massage their ego, so highlighting why you are their ideal solution, and using your product or service to illustrate why, is essential in order to succeed.

It can be beneficial to begin this document with an abstract or synopsis that details your solution to a problem, issue or shortcoming they may have. Be creative about how you represent information throughout the rest of the document. Be mindful that you don’t want to produce a copy of what your competitors submit, but anything too outlandish will be dismissed just as quickly.

A proposal that stands out will get attention, but clarity should be the main goal.

Jargon is something that is often berated but in the right context it can illustrate you fully understand an industry. A proposal should accurately discuss your prospective client’s business, so use of jargon will represent your comprehension. If you don’t understand a client’s terminology then your sales process is not delivering the necessary information and needs to be revisited.

Once the proposal is submitted, there is little you can do despite sit tight and wait for your invitation to pitch. To provide a wining proposal, make sure you:

  • Check your spelling and grammar – the impact a mistake can have means proofreading is a worthwhile exercise.
  • Use case studies and data representation to ensure your point isn’t only enthused by yourself, but proven by performance and analysis.
  • Showcase your understanding and maintain a professional tone, but ensure the personality of you and your brand is also identifiable.
  • Strike whilst the iron is hot and complete a proposal as soon as you receive a request. You will be fresh in their minds and your speed will impress.

A proposal not only secures a pitch but should shape it. The concepts outlined within this document are what the potential client bought into and should be covered further on the day of the pitch.

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