How to Write Business Proposals that Sell
Business writing takes time, it’s a fact. Not only you need to make sure that what you have written makes perfect sense to the recipient but also that they will like what they read and ultimately, they will want to work with you.
Most business people have problems with writing good proposals. In fact, companies lose huge money each year simply because they do not communicate their ideas well. Lack of proper structure, poor research, bad writing style and generally, including not the right information are the main causes plaguing business proposals these days.
Naturally, hiring a professional writer is always a way out, if you are having problems with your business writing. However, if you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I am all about bootstrapping in business. In my opinion you should only spend money on what is really necessary. And, writing proposals is one of thise things that every business owner should be doing themselves, by my book at least. So, if you are having problems with writing killer proposals, here are a few tips for you. But before we begin, there is one last thing that needs explanation.
What is a Business Proposal
In short, a business proposal is an offer from a seller to a prospect presented in a written form. A business proposal is one of the most important elements of the sales process, and especially if your prospect considers more than just the price when making their decision about buying. Therefore, a proper and professional business proposal can greatly increase your chances of getting a sale. A poor one however can discredit you from any sales from the particular prospect.
Typical Elements of a Business Proposal
- Project requirements which usually also states the prospects problem your offer will aim to solve
- Your proposed solution to the clients problem
- Technical infomation about the solution
- Project management info
Now that you know exactly what is a business proposal, it’s time to look at how to make them work for you.
How to Write Proposals that Sell
Keep Your Proposals Short
It is tempting to deliver a 20 pages long proposal. Of course, there are times when you have to do this. In most cases however, this is far too much. An average prospect doesn’t have the time and knowledge to absorb so much information.
Also, a long proposal with a lot of technical and specialist data can be overwhelming and even intimidating, greatly reducing your chances of being selected.
Keep your proposal short and make sure that you go straight to the point very early in the document.
Go Straight to the Point
When clients buy, they do so for a reason. It is not that they just want to give you the money. They have a problem and need a solution to it. In your proposal, touch up on that as soon ass possible and let the prospect know that you have ideas that will certainly help them solve their problem.
Leave Nothing to the Prospects Imagination
Another common mistake, often made by designers for instance is leaving everything to the prospects imagination and also assuming that they have technical knowledge in your field.
Presenting your works without proper explanation is not going to work for most people. However, back them up with data showing how exactly you have helped your clients and your proposal immediately becomes much stronger. Throw in some numbers and you have a winner.
The Price Matters Most
Most proposals leave the price till the end. I believe that this is a major mistake, a one that costs companies thousands in sales each year. And, from my own experience, most clients will scroll to the price page first anyway.
Let your clients know how much they need to budget for working with you and back this up with the benefits of using you.
Brag, But Not at the Start
One of the most common mistakes I see in various proposals I receive is starting with pages upon pages of bragging about your business. Sure, all this stuff is important too, however what your prospect is interested in the most are your ideas to help them and the price.
Start with the meat and you will stand a greater chance that your proposal will be noticed, read and in many cases, selected.
There is a rule for any marketing writing, benefits sell, features only inform. Therefore, always state the benefits of using you. Try to discover what are the key reasons the prospect would buy from you and use them here too. This way you will let the prospect know exactly what they want to hear from the company they would like to choose.