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I want expand my services to the B2B market. I know what I should write in a proposal but what I am not sure about doing is how I get the proposal to companies.

Writing a proposal for marketing and sales.

Entrepreneur

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Research each prospect on your list of possible companies that you feel would be interested in your service. Phone each of these businesses to establish who the key decision makers are.

Research

To send proposals to reach targeted individuals you wish to approach, consider these suggested “do’s and don’ts”  recommended by Shaun Besarab, Group Business Development Manager for Entrepreneur Magazine, South Africa.

  • Qualify your prospect to ensure you are sending your proposal to the decision maker
  • Only include relevant information and be concise
  • Know your objective and visualize the outcome
  • Use terminology relevant to the business you are engaging with (don’t talk over or under them)
  • Ensure that you include an actual proposal component of the message (what you are offering and what the investment is)
  • The information you provide must guide your prospect to a mutually favourable outcome highlighting a win/win situation
  • Be professional and do not use slang or abbreviations
  • Place a definitive time line to the proposal

After you have made the initial contact with a key person

Try to hand deliver the proposal. Allow a few days for the key person to have time to read the proposal and then telephone and make an appointment so that you can pitch the proposal idea in person.

The networking tool

Networking with people is one of the best ways to establish an “in” at target companies. If the key person knows you, even slightly, they are more likely to read the proposal.
Networking provides an opportunity to meet other like-minded business people in a short space of time.

It’s a fact that up to 70% of new business is gained through referrals or relationship marketing, and it is one of the most cost-effective ways of building your business. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce for networking events and join online networking organisations such at Linkedin.

Be concise

The thought of writing a business proposal can be overwhelming. The most important elements to include is to show clearly in the lead paragraph that your business can provide solutions and that you can deliver.

A winning business proposal clearly outlines benefits to be gained from doing business with you and that your small business can offer complete confidentiality and meet tight deadlines.

Credibility

One of the most overlooked elements in business proposals is credibility. It you look at winning proposals one of the reasons for success is that they clearly identify their credibility and back it up with endorsements.

Follow up

It is vital to follow up on each proposal that you have submitted.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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Sales

How do I make a positive first impression with my clients?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so be sure you don’t screw it up.

Marc Pillay

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How do I make a positive first impression with my clients?

Everyone makes mistakes. Fortunately, however, they can be rectified in many cases. If the wrong amount of money is transferred, it can be reversed; if the wrong information is given, it can be corrected with a polite apology.

In business matters too, there is a ‘second chance’ that allows for an error to be straightened out and which sometimes can even be turned into an advantage. But there is one time when this is not the case: The first impression.

Making a good first impression is an opportunity that must be maximised. The old saying holds true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Research has shown that first impressions are of critical importance for three out of four buyers – that is a whopping 75%. Some aspects of your external appearance play a role here, but mostly it is what you say, how you say it and also what is conveyed non-verbally.

It’s all about tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions and body language, and it’s about capturing the mood in which the customer finds them self at that moment.

The following points can help you make a positive first impression on the customer:

  • Approach the customer attentively and with a friendly smile
  • Observe the customer – how do they respond? Are they reserved or receptive, cautious or forthcoming?
  • Take the emotionality of the customer seriously
  • Try to adjust yourself to the mood of the customer
  • Give the customer the feeling that you accept and understand them. Create common ground this way, which will leave the customer with good memories and which will shape their future relationship with you.

Do you already take all of those factors into consideration? If not, try to pay attention to them, and you will quickly see that you will have greater success with them.

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Sales

What’s the most important thing to remember when I’m interacting with a customer?

The one surprisingly simple success tactic that works every time.

Marc Pillay

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What’s the most important thing to remember when I’m interacting with a customer?

Customers want to be taken seriously. Someone who invests money does not only want to receive a product or service. It’s also important to make the customer feel appreciated and on an equal playing field with the sales person.

To do this is surprisingly simple: Address him by his name. By doing this throughout the sales conversation, not only when you greet him, your communication with him becomes much more personal and ‘warmer’.

Nothing is more unpleasant than talking to a person face to face not knowing his name – this has certainly happened to all of us at some point. But how can we possibly remember the names of all our customers?

Here are a number of tips that will help you:

  • Be truly interested in the customer and do not only pretend to pay attention
  • Carefully memorise his name during the first meeting, and write it down if necessary – it is no problem if the customer notices you doing this
  • Repeat the name from time to time during the conversation
  • Memorise the person behind the name – face, figure, voice, distinctive characteristics
  • Try to link the customer’s name to an image. Convert his name into a picture, and link objects or situations to it. The saying also applies in this case: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

You’ll see that after just a short while, the names of your customers will stick in your memory much more easily, and your customer interaction will become more promising.

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Sales

How can I make more sales?

Taking a good look at your existing sales strategy may reveal some areas for improvement.

Tim Berry

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My sales are ticking over nicely but I’d like to increase them now, as I feel that we have the capacity to meet increased demand. Can you give me any advice on how to go about growing sales?

The first thing you need to do is reassess your sales strategy and its impact on sales. Look at what’s working and what isn’t. Once you’ve done that, you can consider introducing some new sales strategies, such as finding new ways to sell more to existing customers, or even how you can find brand new customers. Perhaps you’re charging too little. And your marketing strategy could probably do with an overhaul to ensure it’s relevant in today’s marketplace.

Read the full article here.

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