1. Be Clear Use language that is conversational. No jargon. Remember: Prospects want clear language. Think “real-speak”.
2. Be Specific and Relevant No boilerplate “BS”. (If I can find it on your web- site, I should not find it in the proposal.) Be prospect-centric. (It is all about them!) How can your firm’s features and benefits solve your prospect’s situation / meet their needs?
3. What Do They Really Want: Don’t Waste Time Qualify the opportunity. Ask questions: you have a right to find out more information. Do not commit time and resources if you have a minimal chance of winning the business. Do not eliminate this step!
Section 1: The Opening HOOK your reader. This proposal will show COMPANY the proven practices that AMST will use to get your sales reps generating increased new business opportunities and improved return on sales and marketing investments.
The Goals Demonstrate an understanding of the prospect’s objectives Create interest Narrow / define the scope of the project
Section 2: Background NO BOILER PLATE. What in your background is RELEVANT to the prospect’s specific needs? This step requires due diligence. You cannot be relevant without doing your research.
Section 3: Current Situation Summarize what is happening and the impact of the problem on their firm. Remember that prospects do not take action unless they equate what you are presenting to an improvement in their current situation.
Section 4: Desired Outcome Succinctly state what will be the (positive) outcome/s from what you are proposing. Use bullets Be clear Help them to start to see/feel the end results!
Section 5: Your Recommended Plan What are you recommending to help the prospect achieve the desired outcome? Summarize (they should not be able to take your solution and do it themselves). Highlight critical moments. Provide information regarding Project Management and implementation.
Section 6: The Nitty Gritty Estimated time frame Estimated budget Terms
Section 7: Next Steps Outline the specific action items and related time schedule that have to take place after submission of the proposal.
Housekeeping Proofread once for spelling and punctuation. Proofread again for grammar. Proofread a third time for “readability” and conversational tone. Best bet: ask someone else to read the proposal and give you feedback.
It’s All About The Prospect In what format does the prospect WANT to receive the proposal (email, snail mail, messenger). How many copies do they want?
What Is Not a Proposal Price quote Contract Equipment spec sheet Brochure copy + $
Follow-up, Follow-through You know the situation. You send the proposal; wait a few days and then try to get back in touch. Ouch! You cannot make contact and they do not return the call/s or email/s. What has happened?
The Dead Zone You did not qualify the opportunity and there is “no way” you can win the business. Something has changed (scope of project, decision- maker, etc). The competition has entered the picture (with a vengeance!).
The Dead Zone There is no longer a need. You did not confirm time frame!
What If: You’re not a proficient writer: Take a proposal writing class. Hire a proposal writer. Do a business / proposal writing self-study program.
What If: Your writing is academic, consultant-speak or just ponderous: Remember to use clear and easily understandable words. Paragraphs should not be more than 5 sentences. Average 18 words per sentence.
You Don’t Win 100% of the Time When you don’t win the business you must ask yourself why and learn from the experience. What could you have done differently? Was this a “valid” opportunity? Should you have submitted the proposal? How can you win the next time?
Sales is Quantitative Keep stats # of leads # of appointments # of proposals # of acceptances # lost