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07 2011

How to Create a Killer Sales Proposal

Syndicated from: Fearless Selling » Blog

The vast majority of sales proposals I have read during my career miss the mark. They either don’t address the key issues that the prospect is facing or they fail to demonstrate how the prospect will benefit from buying the seller’s solution. If you need to create sales proposals here are a few ways to make yours stand out from the competitions’. Open with a situation summary. One of the oldest and still most effective sales techniques is to summarize your understanding of the other person’s situation before launching into a sales presentation (aka sales pitch). And this is how you open the proposal. The very first paragraph in your document should highlight or summary your prospect’s situation. What is their problem? What are they trying to achieve? What they experiencing or going through right now? This single paragraph grabs your prospect’s attention because it speaks directly to the problems or challenges they want to fix, resolve or remedy.   Key objectives The next component of the proposal should contain four to six bullet points that outline the customers’ key objectives. In other words, what do they want to accomplish or achieve? You should have generated this information during the discussion(s) you had with your prospect.   The value to the company Once again, this is a list of several bullet points that describe the value of achieving those objectives. It can be an increase in sales, higher customer loyalty, faster time to market, reduction in expenses, improvement in morale, etc. The key to developing this page is to ask the right questions during your sales conversation(s). Essentially, you ask the other person questions that uncover the answers to these areas. And you take their comments and insert them into the proposal. All of this information is placed on the first page of the proposal and you’ll notice that it focuses strictly on the customer; not you, your company or your product, service or solution. This is the fastest way to grab their attention and demonstrate your understanding of their needs and issues. After that, the remaining pages outline what you will do to help the customer achieve the objectives listed on the first page. Don’t be fooled by how easy this sounds… Many sales proposals open with a page or two (or sometimes three!) describing the seller’s company. And it can be tough to wean yourself from this addiction. However, every piece of information you include in a proposal MUST be interesting and relevant to the person reading it. You seldom, if ever, need to include every single feature or aspect about your solution. Finally, make it easier to read by adding headings and including white space. A five page, single-spaced proposal written in a 10-point font is not easy to read which means many people will skim through it, or worse, flip to the last page to see how much it costs. I recall receiving a proposal from one company that spanned 24 pages. Twenty-four pages! Who has time to read that much information?!? Certainly, there are exceptions for complex solutions but generally speaking, the shorter your sales proposal, the better. I have never had a prospect say, “Your proposal was too short, Kelley. That’s why we can’t consider you.” Changing your approach and creating a sales proposal as outlined here will help you stand out from the other people who also submitted a proposal for consideration. BTW: I have posted a template here that you can use as a reference. I hope it helps. Could your team use some help in this area? Give me call and we can discuss the best approach to take. 905-633-7750 or email.

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