7 Tips for Creating Proposals that Sell


Unless you a unique and exceptionally rare kind of professional or work in a very exotic market niche with little to no competition, you are most likely to be one of many individuals struggling for their share of the predominantly buyer’s market.

That said, you need to face the inevitable: every contract and every deal you plan on be closing will be - to this or that extent -  the product of self-promotion, your presentation skills and, ultimately, your ability to put yourself into your clients’ shoes and give them exactly what they are looking for.To help you get up to speed faster, I’d like to share these tips on creating proposals that will really set you and your offer aside:

1) Forget your English class essay writing guidelines - place the thesis part above everything else.

Your primary objective is to demonstrate your vision of the final result that meets the client’s expectations and needs. And since it’s a business proposal, don’t build up the tension and leave the best for the last page - otherwise, there is a pretty good chance your client-to-be will put it away after skimming through the first dozen lines. Once you’ve shown your understanding of the purpose of the client’s project, you can move one to the next level and detail the means of reaching this goal.

2) Don’t be afraid to reuse your own or somebody else’s successful proposals.

If you have a proposal that has worked once, twice or even many times, don’t re-invent the wheel. Use it to win again! Don’t forget about specialized proposal management tools like QuoteRoller - they will help you keep a repository or working proposals for different types of clients and easily reuse them. Choose some proposals templates that have worked and use it again!

3) Keep it simple.

Good writing has never hurt any business document, but don’t make yours sound like a Harvard Business School application essay. Make sure your potential client won’t have a hard time understanding your key points.

4) Demonstrate your understanding of your potential client’s business.

Few things motivate more than knowing that a prospective vendor has been there and feels your pain. Use it to your advantage and do some research beforehand.

5) Make it a limited time offer.

To give your client an extra incentive to put his John Hancock on your proposal as soon as possible, limit the offer validity period to a reasonable time. This way, you will show the client that you are busy, have other clients in sight and that this contract is not a matter of life and death for you, this securing a strong position for yourself in this round.

6) Offer reasonable pricing.

Apparently, everything is relative, and so are rates and prices. However, if you can adequately and impartially assess your price/quality ratio and that of your closest competitors, quote in the same ballpark to make sure you are not cast out initially for underbidding or, vice versa, bidding outrageously high.

7) Build a personal relationship in advance.

It’s not always possible, but if you have a chance to chat with your prospective client on general topics or even meet him or her in person before submitting your proposal, it may really help in securing the deal. Personal connection is always a plus, so never miss a chance to establish it.

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