Are you missing out on one of the highest impact techniques?
Proposal writing is one of the most poorly executed areas of business, be it by the professional ‘full time’ salesperson or by the hands on small business owner who must bring home the bacon. This really is an area where people can make huge gains, usually with only a few little changes to their current work practices.
However, it is also an area where we see a lot of resistance to using best practice. Whether this is an aversion to the word ‘proposal’, that the value of doing so is just not understood, that it is considered boring (far more fun to go and talk to people) or that people don’t know how to write one, we know it is an area where many businesses will see big improvements for essentially little extra effort.
What’s the difference?
The Quotation – Is a form of legal/pricing document, it usually deals solely with features. It shows what is on offer for what amount, but rarely says anything about why the customer should buy.
The Proposal – Restates the buying objectives, emphasises the benefits and explains the price. By linking their needs to what they will get, it proves why the customer should buy.
This document should demonstrate an understanding of the customer and sell in your absence.
Why do it?
As already discussed this area is generally is poorly done and therefore presents businesses with an excellent opportunity to set themselves apart and simultaneously ‘wow’ their customers.
Such a technique is particularly important when trying to win business or introducing new concepts to an existing customer but really is key in virtually all scenarios. The reason a proposal is so important and works so well is that it:
Keeps up impetus
Sales may not be decided at the ‘meeting’, so it provides information for the customer to make a decision at a later date. It gives an opportunity to remind the customer of their issues that need addressing, ensuring that they remain a priority. Particularly if these have been forgotten or the customer distracted shortly after the discussion
Imagine trying to sell the most innovative product or most exciting promotion to a pub landlord. As soon as you leave after even the most brilliant presentation if there is a rush at the bar, a disaster in the kitchen or perhaps even another sales call all is quickly ‘out of sight, out of mind’
Shows professionalism and respect
A proposal indicates that the sales person is taking the business seriously and can be bothered to take the time and effort to assist the customer who is important to them. It indicates an interest that is likely to illicit a more positive response
Those who have played local sport or had an event covered will know the thrill when the region paper drops through the door and there is a report -even though it states what you already know.
When I had my eyes lasered I was particularly keen to know it really was me they had put the solution together for!
Gives information for all Decision Makers
Often various people can be involved in making a purchasing decision, including ones not met or even know. A written offer (proposal!) allows the right information to be passed around and elements important to those who may have differing needs to be highlighted.
A reminder about the family car viewed at the weekend would do well to outline the sporty drive (Dad), safety (Mum), trendy looks (eldest), secret storage (youngest), comfy seats (Gran) and large boot (dog).
Provides action plan and means of communication
What happens next? The sales person should keep control. As sales situations become more complex there may be a number of elements that need to be agreed and undertaken, perhaps by different people. The proposal shows this has been thought through (important for detail minded people) and can be used to share the relevant information with those who need it
Wedding Planners would do well to well to confirm all the detail for the nervous bride whilst taking the opportunity of only having to prepare one ‘master’ document to circulate to florist, cake maker, decorator, DJ, caterers and chauffeurs.
Generates opportunity for extra detail and avoiding confusion
Perhaps useful in the event of ‘disagreement’ later on, but certainly a chance to give more information to ‘show off’ the company. If a similar product/service/solution is available from a number of suppliers the one that best demonstrates their credibility is most likely to get the business
Buy a sofa from company A £500?
Or a sofa from company B for £500. A company established for over 30 years that offers a 5 year guarantee and has a team of delivery drivers who will position in the house and take away any packaging?
“We could have done that as well” would be too late for company A when the decision is made on a B being a better deal
Blueprint for presentation
As it represents a logical sales argument, if someone is going back to formally present ideas this is the perfect preparation for that meeting and itself becomes an excellent visual aid
“And here Mr Customer is a copy of everything I have just explained” – very powerful!
So What Next?
Make the commitment to use this often underrated but extremely powerful sales tool.
If you are unsure about how to write one or think your existing offering can be improved we are here to help.
Please note that writing proposals is highly effective and that we cannot be held responsible for how they can seriously drive your sales!