Even though most salespeople hate writing proposals, they spend a lot of time doing just that. That means managers spend even more time reviewing and revising proposals. Those same managers also spend a lot of time shaking their heads in dismay because the quality of the proposals just isn’t good enough.
Training salespeople to write proposals can feel like banging your head against a wall—and by the time you finish, everyone has a headache. So, let’s make this simple.
My colleague Mark Nichol on Daily Writing Tips shared his best tips on writing proposals, and we turned it into an easy to use guide for you and your salespeople. Use it to improve the quality of the proposals going out, and the results that come from them.
According to Mark, writing a good proposal is more of an exercise in persuading than reporting. A winning proposal requires the following elements:
- Summary: A short overview that highlights what will be most important to the buyer
- Statement of Need: Explanation of the problems this proposal solves for the organization
- Description: Detailed explanation of the proposed product and service
- Budget: A detailed breakdown of the pricing model
- Conclusion: Restatement of the important points, including how the proposed purchase will help the buying organization
It’s also important that every sales person create a proposal that:
- Defines a problem and describes a solution so that the buyer understands the benefits
- Employs facts to bolster the argument for approval. Refer to similar successful projects or explain how the project solves problems or achieves goals
- Demonstrates possible outcomes using models, project plans, and expected results.
- Provides a realistic picture of the entire expense
The final, finishing touch on any effective proposal is clean design and meticulous writing. What the client receives should be easy to understand a free from errors.
The better your sales people get at writing proposals, the easier your job will be. Click here to download the guide I made with simple steps your sales reps can refer to when writing proposals. Try using this checklist with them when you review their proposals to reinforce the results you expect and help them become better proposal writers.