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Sales Consulting and Training:

The Document that Does the Selling For You

Writing Strong Proposals

Proposals come in all shapes and sizes. Some are well-written and effective, others leave much to be desired and quite a few are destined for the trash heap of history. One can’t overstate the importance of a well-written proposal. In essence, a proposal serves as an on-site sales professional. When you’re not available to meet with a client, your proposal serves as a reference document and provides the key information the client needs to be able to select your company. It acts as an absentee representative for your company. More importantly, it allows your sponsor to promote your company to key decision makers. During those times when you can’t seem to get in front of key executives, your proposal can get right in the door and in the person’s hand. 

It pays to have a strong proposal. Sales can be won and lost via these documents. Making an effort to write more effective proposals will go a long way in helping to increase your personal sales numbers.

What components make up a strong proposal?

· Is customized for your customer.  Thanks to the worldwide web, it is easy to track down a customer’s logo. To personalize a proposal, include the customer’s logo on the cover.

· Describes the existing challenge as faced by the customer. This shows the customer that you “get it” and are on the same page.

· Provides an accurate and detailed description of the product or service being sold. You don’t have to dump all the technical specs of product in the front of a proposal. Key data should be provided with supporting documentation available via other materials or an appendix.

· Utilizes benefit statements. This ties product and service features into how your customer will benefit. Your customer will want to know how your product or service will increase their profitability, productivity or image.

· Information relating to product or service delivery, installation, shipping or production should be included.

· Details other customers who have used the product or service. This can be done via client lists, testimonial letters or a series of customer quotes. Reference information can be provided but always check with your reference first. Don’t let them be caught off guard.

· Provides the logistical details of a proposal. How much? How many? When? Where? How? In what way? To whom? From where? What payment terms? What deliverables?  For the sake of clarity and convenience, this type of content should be provided on one to two pages.

· Provides a total cost. Stay away from detailing solely unit costs. Make the process easier by calculating the total cost of an investment. 

· Provides complete contact information. Be sure to list the account manager’s name, title, phone number and e-mail address. Make it easy for your customer to contact you… particularly when they’re in the board room and like your proposal.

Provided that you have furnished the right data in a clear and professional manner, your proposal will complement your sales activities and will do the selling for you.

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