Whether you are responding to government RFPs or creating custom proposals to promising sales leads for your business, you need to master the art of the compelling business proposal. Too many opportunities are lost to companies who fail to follow some basic guidelines for a persuasive presentation.
If your proposals are not getting the results you want, read our tips for improving your approach to pitching potential clients.
Get to the Point
Whether your audience is online or in a company boardroom, you have only a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention. A great business proposal makes people want to know more, just like an effective website.
Experts say that an audience is only yours for the first fifteen seconds. You need to make your point quickly!
Whether you are pitching your product person, online or through high tech media tactics, you need to convey your message in ways that are fast and memorable.
Trim the Fat
In order to seize attention in your business proposal, you need to whittle away extraneous information. Don’t beat around the bush with information that strays from your main point.
Many business proposals waste time and opportunities by devoting too much space to biographical details and technical jargon.
Try to sum up your main point (or your “elevator pitch”) in a single sentence. Everything else in your business proposal must support that main proposition.
For example, if you want to say your widget is the fastest and cheapest on the market, include only facts, figures, and testimonials that support that main point.
Cut out everything that fails to support your primary argument.
Make it Look Professional
Nothing undercuts the effectiveness of a business proposal more than a mistake.
If your business proposal contains sloppy formatting, typos, misspelled words or grammatical errors, it looks like you could not be bothered to proofread. If you do not care enough to create an error-free business proposal, how can your customer believe your product or service won’t be faulty as well?
if you do not have the resources in-house to create a classy looking business proposal, invest in a professional service to help you. Professional services like Bidrik provide business proposal templates which not only look good but which also make tracking and following up easier.
How Can You Help?
Once you clearly establish what you do or what your product can accomplish, you need to draw the line to connect with your customers’ needs.
A successful business proposal will tell the customer exactly how you can help them. You must lay out the problem you will solve for them and demonstrate to them how you will do it.
You may even have to articulate a problem they did not know they had.Once you have explained the challenge they face, show them how you can solve that problem and make their lives/their business better.
Your business proposal may be one of several that your prospect is reviewing today. You need to stand out from the pack of competitors.
An effective brand will make prospects remember you and will distinguish you from others.
A brand is more than just a logo: it can include company colors, a tagline, and messaging that conveys the company’s most essential value proposition.
The brand should run consistently across all platforms: stationery, website, email newsletters, and advertising. Some companies even promote their brand on giveaway items like pens, magnets, hats, and shirts.
Whether your business proposal is online through a Powerpoint or presented in hard copy spiral binders, make sure your company brand is prominent and consistently displayed throughout.
Sales prospects trust the recommendations of known entities, so include testimonials in your business proposal. Choose endorsements from organizations or people whom your audience will respect. You want them to follow their lead.
Sometimes you will find effective testimonials in the media. If your product has been praised by a celebrity or a well-known public figure, that’s a helpful addition to the proposal.
Look for endorsements from entities that are respected in your industry, or that of your prospect. Even competitors can make great testimonials.
Praise from your prospect’s rival will make them curious- what do you have that helped their rival and can they get it too?
If you are submitting an RFP or a proposal and you are not there to give the pitch in person, it is possible that your audience may not give the proposal their full attention. They may flip through it, skimming the content.
That’s why the content needs to grab them and never let them go.
Headlines are a great way to get the attention of the reader of a business proposal. They also help in structuring the proposal in a way that is clear and logical.
Headlines are also helpful when the proposal is summarized from one prospect to deliver to another. Your contact can list the various ways you have laid out why the president of the organization should choose you. He can lay them out convincingly because you have given them to him in an easy to follow, rational format.
Successful business proposals do not present the prospect with an either/or decision. You want to lay out some options for your potential customer.
Your prospect may love your pitch but have a limited budget. They may have a limited timeline or other conditions which may impact how they can purchase what you are offering.
Don’t force them to say no. Give them a few price points or quantities to choose from. Show that you are willing to negotiate and that you can be flexible to provide what they need.
Prospects given an A, B or C option are more likely to close the deal.
Call to Action
Finally, tell your audience how to close the deal. Give your contact information at the end of the presentation.
Don’t make it difficult for your audience to figure out how to take this relationship to the next level.
Be specific- Call me. Sign here. Click this.
Your client will be happy, and so will you.
Ingredients for a Successful Business Proposal
The instructions for putting together a successful business proposal may seem simple, but too many businesses fail to follow these easy steps.
You can beat your competition by closing more deals if you pay attention to your customers’ needs and expectations, and address them as we have advised.
For more information on improving your business practices, check out our blog here.