Effective proposals can round out the sales process with nearly certain conversion, time and time again. But what can we do when our proposals are not working?
The answer is: change, adapt, and evolve.
If an aspect of your proposal process is breaking down the sales process, it’s time to weigh your options. Fortunately, it is highly feasible to adapt the contents of your proposals to get the desired reaction.
Let’s have a look at a 5 ways we can change our standard proposals into fantastic ones, and earn more customers in the process.
1. Avoid Information Overload
One common problem that makes a proposal bad is too much info. Often, business people try to cram too much superfluous content into the confines of what should be a straightforward proposal that offers an actionable outcome.
For this reason, you should go easy on the images in your proposals, as well as the number of words. These days, it is really fashionable to include infographics in proposals, as well as other images. While that is a great idea, putting too many graphics in makes a proposal look more like a report from a research study than a proposition.
Readers who see this type of proposal are usually put off by all that data to take in and understand. Keep your proposals on point, and present only the information that is actually useful to your potential customers.
2. It’s Not All about You
One of the easiest mistakes to make is to turn your business proposals into glowing celebrations of the awesomeness of your own business and its accomplishments. While a proposal should definitely relate any major victories in your company’s history, it is best not to delve too deeply on your business itself. Instead, focus on how your business is the ideal choice to help your customers achieve their goals.
Phrases that are repellant to customers might surprise you. Customers do not really like to be told that a particular business is the ‘best.’ They prefer to discovery that a certain business is the best choice for them.
Think of it this way: nowhere on its website does Apple say that they make the best computers, tablets, and media devices ever devised. Still, that company’s legions of customers have come to feel that Apple products are clearly the best for them. The same logic can apply to your business, and this philosophy should frame everything that goes into its proposals.
3. Make an Offer
In most conventional selling environments, such as retail, the end of the sales process is always the offer. The offer is the invitation to purchase – or convert, as it is commonly referred to these days. Any proposal that fails to offer an actionable conversion step at the end misses the mark of being a proposal at all. Instead, such proposals become little more than informational presentations.
It is important to note that your offer should not be a blatant solicitation. Underscoring the value of the purchase is what it’s all about. Rather than an open entreat for money, make your offer a simple action framed around the benefit of your service to your customer. In other words, try to give your potential customers every reason to want to do business with you.
4. Never Say Cost
The word ‘cost’ has a certain degree of negative connotation associated with. While every commercial service is actually a cost, it’s best not to underline that fact. This is especially true in business-to-business proposals, where ‘cost’ is quite literally a column unto itself in the profit and loss formula.
So cost is labeled as ‘pricing’ (or something similar) in a good proposal. The term pricing creates a mental bridge in the consumers’ minds – a bridge to terms like ‘low prices’ and ‘discount pricing.’ While you may not be offering the lowest price in your chosen field, if you refer to the monetization step as pricing rather than cost, you give your audience a positive, rather than a negative.
5. Offer Solutions
A great proposal offers a solution to a tangible problem. If you are proposing a records archival service, your proposal should be aimed at convincing a company with a ton of paperwork that your business can better handle all that paperwork at an attractive price.
People only like to pay for services that are beneficial, which translates to: making life easier for them. This means that writing a proposal is really about solving a problem. In the above records archival example, the problem is keeping up with files.
The solution is a lower-cost, higher-efficiency way of managing important documents. As you can tell from our example, the best proposals are those that recognize a problem, and offer a solution that is easily appreciable by the intended audience.
Keeping your business proposals focused on results for your customers will help you realize your own business goals. By avoiding information overload, company narcissism, and frightful ‘costs’ while staying focused on actionable conversion through your proposals, you’ll be headed well on your way toward making your business the biggest success it can be.
How do you make your proposals look the best?