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Writing a Sales Proposal

It’s time to put an offer on the table; but first, you have to write one.

Barry Farber

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There is one universal truth when it comesto writing proposals: no two proposals are ever the same. A proposal’s effectiveness is not judged by its weight, or even by what is written on the paper. A proposal’s effectiveness is based solely on the value it brings to the table. This entails your initial presentation, meeting your prospect for the first time, and discussing the prospect’s interests and requirements.

Hence, the verbal positioning is as important as the written aspect because what you’re essentially proposing is the framework for a relationship. Sometimes, when the relationship is complicated by technical issues, a long proposal is necessary to help the prospect make a decision. Other times, the proposal’s purpose is simply to make sure everybody is on the same page.

It is not easy to write an effective proposal; there are no rules that cover every industry and every circumstance. But here are steps you can take to ensure that your proposal gets the job done.

1. Focus on the customer’s hot buttons.

A proposal should focus on how your product or service will help prospects achieve their goals. Although you may have a standard template you usually use, each proposal should be individualised to meet the particular prospect’s needs.

2. Keep it short.

There are times, especially if technical statistics and complicated products are involved, when proposals need to be packed with data. Otherwise, you should keep the proposal as short as possible while still ensuring it contains all the necessary information. Proposals that have gorgeous covers, that include press releases and a dozen testimonial letters may look good, but the truth is that 99% of the time the prospect will flip through all those pages and go right tothe money, and you end up selling on price instead of value. Focus instead on what the client really wants to know.

3. Ask the prospect how to write the proposal.

Say this: “If you were to get the proposal right now, what would be the three most important points that would help you make a buying decision?” Have the prospect prioritise those points, then construct your proposal accordingly. If the prospect has formal proposal requirements, ask whether he/she has written guidelines you can follow, or even a previous proposal you can review to make sure yours fits within the proper parameters.

Think of your proposal as a tool to forge a strong and long-lasting relationship with this prospect. Focus on what the prospect sells and how you can help him or her achieve those goals. When prospects see that you have put in the time and effort to understand their business and objectives, your proposal is bound to end up making the sale.

Barry Farber is a top speaker and bestselling author of 11 books on sales, management and personal achievement.

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(Video) Get More Attention For your Business

Lindsay Broder, The Occupreneur Coach, explains the importance of communicating your unique skills and the value you can offer clients in this short video.

Entrepreneur

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Demonstrating what you bring to the table isn’t always easy.

Lindsay Broder, The Occupreneur Coach, explains the importance of communicating your unique skills and the value you can offer clients in this short video.

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(Video) How You Can Make Your Next Presentation Memorable

How to make your pitch memorable.

Entrepreneur

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From delivering board room presentations to speaking before a live audience, speaking publicly is something most of us will have to do at some point. But if we’re going to take the time to develop and practice delivering a presentation, we want to make sure the content and the “performance” are memorable, right?

In this video, keynote speaker and communication coach Carmine Gallo offers his top tips for how you can make your next business presentation one your audience won’t soon forget. Gallo is author of TALK LIKE TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of The World’s Top Minds.

Gallo recommends following the “rule of three.” Instead of presenting 15 or 20 points, stick with three or four features or pieces of advice. Why? It’s easier for people to remember and stay engaged with what you’re saying.

“It’s almost impossible for the human brain to ignore that group of three,” Gallo says. “We have to know what those three are.”

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(Video) How to Hit the Presentation Content Nail on the Head

Building better business presentations.

Entrepreneur

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Avoid the glassy-eyed look from your audience by creating a strong presentation that delivers an exciting experience. Pam Slim delves into her process and techniques for choosing content to fill her presentation slides.

“Ask yourself: What do you want people to walk away with?”

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