15 Tips for Writing the Perfect Sales Proposal

Adrian Rosca, the author of this post
Adrian Rosca
Entrepreneur selling to customer
Created by Pressfoto - Freepik.com

Are you having a tough time writing the perfect sales proposal?

Writings sales proposals is not something that you can take lightly. It takes a lot of work to make sure that your prospects will even bother reading to the end.

Here are 15 tips to help you get started.

Start With An Attention Grabber

You have 15 seconds to grab the attention of your audience .

That means that when you're writing a sales proposal, you need to make the first sentence count. Leading with a lengthy description of yourself or your business is a surefire way to lose that interest.

Instead, lead with something that makes you stand out. If you met this particular prospect a certain way, lead with that. If not, try leading with something specific about the prospect that made you want to reach out.

This will keep them reading for longer.

Focus on What The Prospect Wants

I suggest that you lead with something about your prospect, not yourself. Ideally, this is going to set the tone for your entire proposal.

Don't just give them a laundry list of what you can do. Instead, take your time to research the prospect and what it is they need that you can provide.

Then, clearly state what you can provide them, why you think they'd want it, and what you can give them, specifically, that no one else can. "You" should show up more than "I."

Let Results Take Centerstage

Telling them what you can do is good. But if you end it there, then that isn't enough.

Instead, your final and most important point should be the results. Don't just tell them what you're going to do — tell them what that's going to get them. Let them know what your final goals are.

To put it another way, experts agree that prospects want 'out', not 'in' . What that means is simple: focus on what they'll be getting out of it, not the work you'll be putting into it.

Don't Waste Time

It's a simple truth: the longer your proposal is, the less likely your prospect will be to read it.

So, don't add anything to your sales proposal unless it is 100% important information. Every sentence should serve a purpose, and you should waste no time with unimportant information.

If your proposal spends paragraphs explaining the history of your company, or why you got into the business, your prospect will toss it aside and go to the next one without a second thought. Be concise and to the point if you want them to care.

Give Your Prospects Options

Even when you're giving them the best choice possible, your prospects still want to feel like they have a choice.

Putting multiple options into a sales proposal is a great way to make sure that they won't shop around somewhere else. But if you give too many choices, you run the risk of making it too long — remember the last point.

There's actually a very specific number you should use. Experts agree that three options are the perfect amount for a sales proposal.

This is the rule of thumb you should follow.

Offer Discounts

It's common sense. People will always be more inclined to buy something if they feel like they're getting a deal.

A simple way to write a proposal is to do this: offer an "average" price for the service that is much higher than what you plan on charging them. Then, let them know what you can do to cut costs, and give a lowered price.

This very simple technique will make people feel as though you are being honest with them and not ripping them off.

Start With Your Highest Price

Similar to the above point, you don't want to cause sticker shock. So when you're offering those three options, start with your highest priced one and work your way down.

If you do the opposite, then the prospect will feel uneasy as the price climbs up. Even though they don't have to buy all three, it will feel like you're raising the price just because of the order they read it in.

Listing in descending order avoids this and makes things feel less anxious when reading your sales proposal.

Choose Your Words Carefully

It's amazing what a difference in wording can make.

For example, the words "price" and "cost" aren't perfect. They automatically make your prospect feel as though they are giving something up, so they're less likely to agree.

Both of these words aren't terrible to use, though. The one that you should really avoid is the word 'fee'. This makes the reader feel like there are multiple payments, given how the word is generally used.

The best word to use is "investment." This makes the prospect feel like an active participant.

Don't Get Too Fancy

I understand that, when you're describing what you do, you think of it in terms of jargon and technical terms. But your prospects don't.

So when you're writing, make sure you keep the language simple and easy to understand. Remember, you're here to communicate something to your reader, not to show them how smart you are.

If you want to connect with your prospect, you need to do it on their level. You can't expect them to read your proposal if they need to pause to google the words you're using.

Know When to Get Personal

You should really speak to your prospect on a personal level, to build a personal bond and attachment. But while that's perfectly true, there's also a very important time not to be personal.

That's mainly when you're discussing costs.

When talking about pricing, never say "you will pay" or "you will invest." Instead, say "the price is generally..." or "most of our clients invest..."

This way, you can avoid telling the prospect point-blank that they will be paying, which is the sort of phrasing that puts them off.

Offer Testimonials and Endorsements

It's simple. No matter how good of a salesperson you are, no matter how perfect your language is ... the prospect knows that you're biased.

Of course, you're going to tell them that your business is fantastic because you want them to use it. You will never be able to be unbiased about your business, and no one expects you to be.

But if you include testimonials about your business in your sales pitch, it lends some credibility to your claims. Prospects will trust the words more coming from someone else.

Cut-And-Paste ... Carefully

If you're writing a bunch of proposals, I know how tempting it can be to just copy-and-paste, changing out only a few key details.

It's understandable, but that doesn't mean you should do it. In fact, you should take the time to personalize each and every sales proposal that you put out.

If you must, you can copy-and-paste a few non-specific things, like information about your business and pricing. But, in general, you should be very careful about this sort of thing, because you could come off as impersonal.

Take Your Time Editing

Do not just send out your sales proposal as soon as you finish it! This is a huge mistake that a lot of people make when they're feeling busy and overwhelmed.

But nothing will turn off your prospect more than a spelling error or an incorrect fact. Any mistakes will come across as sloppy, and as though you don't do a good job, which will make people not want to hire you.

Take the extra time and read over your proposals for any errors carefully before sending them out.

Give a Summary

It's a fact of life: some of your prospects are very busy and are more likely to skim or skip to the end of your sales proposal.

Make it easy for them by providing a brief summary of your proposal in the final paragraph. This will let them know in an instant if it's worth their time.

You can make things even easier by using headers, letting people know where to find specific bits of information and where to start reading your summary. This will make prospects more interested.

Let Them Know What to Do Next

You don't want your prospect to finish reading your sales proposal and think, "And now what?"

Make it easy for them to take the next step by giving a clear call to action at the end. Tell them, "We'd love for you to get in touch with us at..." or "If you're interested, you can get a free consultation by..."

By doing this, you make it easier for them to figure out what to do. You may even want to include a brief contract at the end to seal the deal!

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Now that you know how to write your sales proposal, it's time to make it look beautiful visually, too.

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