Have you ever sent out a proposal only to hear nothing back from prospects for days, weeks, or months?
Losing your sales proposal in the void is a common frustration for sales professionals. Sometimes this happens due to factors out of your control. One thing you can control, however, is the quality of what you send. Before you assemble your next proposal, use this checklist to make sure you've covered the basics.
1) Your objective.
The objective section should clearly define in measurable terms what you can help your prospect accomplish. You might wish to offer one tangible and one intangible objective. For example, "Cut production cost and increase customer's business by 10 percent," and "Help customer gain competitive advantage with greater product reliability at competitive price."
2) Plans to execute.
How do you plan to meet your objective? In two or three lines, give the prospect a rough sketch of your plans. Without going into painstaking detail, reveal the means by which you'll fulfill your proposal's obligations.
Your recommendation should lay out a schedule for action. Establish a time frame for decisions leading to your objective. Specific contact or shipping dates allow prospects to collect their thoughts and questions before you call, and to plan their own business agendas.
Show your prospects how your action plan translates into business or personal career benefits for them. How will meeting your objectives have a positive impact on the prospect's business? Make sure your results section shows your prospects exactly what they'll get for their money.
The rationale section should present "closing arguments" that use both logic and emotion to convince prospects to buy. Use benefits – not features – to summarize why the prospect should buy now.
When crafting your proposal, focus on the customer's need instead of on your own product or service. In other words, speak to the customer's interest, and show how your offering can solve a specific business challenge. If you can't articulate their business challenge, you haven't done enough work yet to craft a truly persuasive proposal.
6) Pricing and budget.
Prospects need to know up front how much it will cost to follow your recommendations. Consider the prospect's finances and remember that it's your job to offer prospects exactly what they need – no more or less.