A successful sales proposal can make a huge difference in winning or losing a sale. A great sales proposal presents a future in which your potential customer have overcome their obstacles and solved their problems, where your product/services or solution is what makes that future a reality. It is typical for people to lose a sale by falling into the trap of making their sales proposal too long, too generic, or too vague. Even if they have a perfect solution to the prospect, these grave mistakes almost always lose them that sale.
Free Sales Proposal Templates
What is a Sales Proposal?
A sales proposal is a document used by a person or a business to pitch their products and/or services to potential clients and customers. The primary goal of a sales proposal is to persuade a company or an organization to do business with you.
A sales proposal is important in gaining new clients and selling to currents ones. Sales proposals can be used by different people, including sales teams, agencies, consultants, and anyone looking to show how they can serve their target market with their offerings.
An excellent sales proposal should be tailored towards achieving the following:
- It should show that you fully understand the needs of the prospective client. A sales proposal must show that you understood the clients needs based on your previous discussion or their request for proposal
- A sales proposal should help you in convincing the client that you are the best option for them. A great sales proposal should link the challenges the client has with the benefits of your offer. In turn, the client will be able to see a future version of themselves that successfully solved their troubles thanks to your products and or services.
- A great sales proposal should inspire the prospects to act. A sales proposal gives the prospective client the confidence they need to make their decision as they have all the information they need.
Simply put, a great sales proposal should be authentic, clear, and tailored towards your Prospect’s needs and expectations.
How to Write a Sales Proposal
Start with the outline
The best way to begin your sales proposal is by writing the outline. To start, list all the parts of the sales proposal that you look to address. The structure of your sales proposal should include:
Introduction: in this section, your sales proposal should introduce your team, business, and products and/or services. In addition to that, you can also include social proof and any testimonials that highlight the success of your business.
Summary: This part should describe the customer’s problems/challenges and detail the potential issues that shall arise if action is not taken to mitigate them. The summary sets you up to discuss how your products and/or services will correct the problems/challenges and provide an opportunity for success.
Market research: when writing your sales proposal, make sure that you have done proper research not only on your clients and their needs but also on the market and the competitors.
Deliverables: this section details the approach/methodology you will employ to solve the client’s problems/challenges. Include the objectives, milestones, and timings in this section.
Benefits: this section is very important as it shows the prospective clients the value of the products and/or services proposing to offer to them. It would be best if you were very keen on the language you use in this section as it can either grab or lose your client’s attention.
Cost: the cost of the products and/or services you are proposing to offer to the client is the first thing the buyer will look for. You should make this clear and offer several options. For instance, you can offer a high or low cost, depending on the type of products or services you are proposing to offer.
Tip: Before writing a sales proposal, you must first find out the whole lot about your client. If your sales proposal is in reply to a request for a proposal, the client must provide you with background information. If not, you will have to conduct additional customer discovery and market research to draft a sales proposal that fits the client’s needs.
The more homework you put in, the easier it will be to create a great sales proposal. This will also help you in demonstrating to your client that you know their problems, thereby increasing the likelihood of acceptance by your prospective or current clients.
Know your prospect’s problem
By understanding your prospects/current clients’ needs, you will be able to offer the right solution. One of the techniques to do this is by involving the client and conducting proper market and customer research. By engaging the client and conducting the research, you may find out some additional information or challenges the Prospect hasn’t thought through completely. This will also be a great opportunity to build value in your solution.
When developing this section, it is important to address the following:
- What are your potential client’s needs and challenges?
- How will you uncover the problems and challenges?
- How does your solution solve the client’s problems?
- What discerns your solution from competitors?
Without carefully analyzing the client’s needs, your sales proposal will be based on guesswork, which may easily be dismissed by the client.
Write a killer executive summary
Before writing the sales proposal, you should remember that this document is about the client and not about you. It is all about showing the client that you understand the problems/challenges they have and how to solve them.
This section is the perfect place to show how well you understand the client’s needs. The client will appreciate your effort in taking the time to understand their challenges more than anything.
An executive summary must be clear and straight to the point. Make sure to state the problem and the proposed solution.
Do market research
Conducting thorough market research and understanding the market, direct competitors, and anything else that affects the client is important in determining the type of solution you will offer to their problems.
You should include a summary of your market research to show the prospective client that you have dedicated your time to trying to find the best and the most personalized solution for their problems.
Some of the questions to ask you when performing market research include:
- What solutions have been used previously by the client to tackle related problems?
- Who are the direct and indirect competitors?
- What is being done differently by the competitors?
Market research is not the only key in understanding your customer’s needs and proposing solutions to the problems, but it can also help in identifying new businesses, improving performance, and testing new markets.
Offer the solution
After identifying the problems and conducting the market research, explain the solution you are proposing to offer the client. Include objectives and relevant milestones. Make sure that the proposed solution is not only powerful but also straightforward. Don’t include all the details, touch on the most important points that will make your pitch stand out, and offer an in-depth explanation of the solutions during the in-person meeting.
Identify the deliverables
After identifying the solution to the problem/challenges, identify the deliverables. Make sure to keep this section simple and actionable. Include the timeline in this section. You can set the milestones in an easy-to-read calendar or a bulleted list of dates.
Know your audience
One of the key things to do before drafting a sales proposal is to know and understand the client’s problems. You should first learn more about their company, the market, and their competition and then apply that knowledge when drafting the sales proposal.
The key to getting your proposal accepted by any client is by proving to them that you have taken your time to understand the challenges they are going through. Once you have known your audience, make sure to tailor the proposal to them. Make them feel understood; this way, you will have no trouble gaining their business.
Be straightforward with the pricing
The cost can either make or break the deal. Before making a sales proposal, it is important that you have a discussion with the client. This confirms that you are both on the same page before investing your time in drafting the sales proposal.
You can propose different options for Pricing. This way, the prospective or your current client will have a feeling of control, thereby increasing the odds of your products and/or services being chosen. It is advised that you choose at least three different points from high to low. Break down the cost of each service offered so that the prospective client can see and understand the value.
Most people fail at this point. A call to action is just as important as all the points listed above. This section sets you up for success by informing your client/prospect of the next step they should take to have their problems solved. When writing the call-to-action section, it is important that you use language that assumes that your sales proposal will be approved. You must sound confident of the solution you are proposing to offer, if you sound unsure, your client/prospect will be too.
The call-to-action differs based on the client and the solution they are seeking for their problems/challenges; nonetheless, it should always bring you closer to closing the deal.
Add testimonials or social proof
You should include any clients that you have successfully helped in your sales proposal. Make sure to choose a client who is in the same industry as the client or one that faced similar challenges. This way, the client/prospect will be convinced that you will be able to tackle their challenges with ease. However, before using anyone’s testimonial, it is important that you first ask for their approval to avoid any litigations that may arise.
Presentation is important
For the client to take your work seriously, it is important that you present your work as the professional you claim to be. The best way to have a clear-cut presentation is by utilizing a template. Templates are designed to make it easy for anyone to pop the content in for the next proposal and make minor changes if needed. Some of the key areas to on in your presentation include:
Clear titles and headlines: when writing your sales proposal, it is important that you have clear headings and subheadings. This will not only make your work presentable but also easy to read and understand.
Design: the document should have consistent color and font choices. Ensure that the font you choose will be suitable for both mobile and desktop computers.
Visuals: studies show that the brain processes image faster than text. Almost 90% of information transmitted to our brains is visual; therefore, it only makes sense that you utilize graphic design and include images, relevant graphs, and tables to help persuade your prospective client.
Keep it simple
Keep the sales proposal simple. Make sure to use a language that everyone can easily understand. It is advisable that you use layman’s terms to avoid any confusion and frustration. Here are a few tips to help you when drafting the sales proposal:
- Utilizing lists to make things easy to read
- Avoiding generalizations
- Connecting the problem to its proposed solution
- Don’t oversell
- Create time to answer any questions that the client may have
Proofread your work
Incorrect grammar and spelling errors can be a major turn-off to your client. They may insinuate that you didn’t invest your time in drafting the document. Consider how your client would feel seeing that you misspelled their business name. It will be hard for you to rectify an error like this.
Make sure to go over the proposal several times. You can ask your team members to proofread the document to ascertain that everything is as it should be.
After drafting your sales proposal, it is important that you physically meet with the prospective client and go through the document together to make sure that you have covered every aspect. This will also allow you to clarify, expand, and answer any questions that they may have.
Consistent communication is important for any successful business deal. After meeting with the client, make sure to follow up with them after three to four days. Give them time to review the proposal with their team.
Remember that creating a winning sales proposal comes down to listening to your potential clients and using sales proposals as a tool to paint the picture of your proposed outcome. If your sales proposal can make your prospective client feel comfortable owning or using the products and/or services you are offering and the edge it will give them from their competitors, they will be excited to get started.
Parts of a Sales Proposal
Your sales proposal should follow the standard proposal format that your potential clients would expect to see. A standard sales proposal should include:
- About us
- Benefits to the customers (how the customer will benefit from your products)
- Product sales contract
- Product purchased
Once you have completed your proposal, subject it to the following to ensure that all key items have been covered:
- Does your sales proposal address the purpose of your Prospect’s needs?
- Is the work you plan to do covered in sufficient detail?
- Is your proposal written from your prospective client’s perspective?
- Have you provided enough reasons why you should be selected to supply your products and/or services?
- Will the client be able to understand what they are supposed to do upon reading the proposal?
- Are your fees properly stated?
What is a sales proposal?
A sales proposal is a document that outlines the value of a product or service to potential customers and details the terms in which they can purchase it. Companies typically create them to pitch their services to other companies, but individuals may also use them to pitch a new business idea.
What are the features of a good sales proposal?
A good sales proposal should have an objective, clearly outline the product or service and explain how it will benefit the customer before outlining the terms they are willing to purchase it. The benefit should be convincing, and every aspect of a sales proposal should be clearly defined.
How many pages should a sales proposal have?
The length of a sales proposal depends on the size of the company and the nature of its product. Generally speaking, three to five pages should suffice for a small business, with seven to ten pages ideal for a medium-sized company. For larger companies, it may require more than ten.