Have you ever asked your self what percentages of your proposals actually win the business? To business owners and sales professionals alike, writing proposals can often be a black art, and guaranteeing their success can often be extremely difficult, if you don’t have the magic formula of success.
But imagine if you could ensure that your proposals won more business than even before. Could you even go as far as thinking how in six months time you looked back on today and remembering that today was the day you learnt how to double your success rate?
You may not have asked yourself just how important great testimonials are to succeeding in business, or even why your prospective clients really want to know precisely if your service will work for them.
So when you are next faced with a proposal to complete and you reach into your filing cabinet to pull out your testimonials, you should be able to realise precisely how your existing clients put a value on your service.
By the way if your existing testimonials are either non-existent or even if they do not accurately reflect the way you can uniquely position massive value to your client, then now is the time to look at our value proposition workshop, because to write winning proposals, not only MUST you know your unique value proposition – you MUST know precisely what value your prospective client puts on your service or product.
By the way, in case you are not already aware of it, that is the magic formula for success – You MUST ensure that you get YOUR prospect to put a value on owning whatever you are hoping to sell. The value of ownership must be greater that the cost to purchase. In fact that isexactly the rationale all our clients use before they decide to buy our services.
So once you have asked the right questions, been completely straight with your customer and they have told you that they see exactly how you can provide specific value (You must know by now what that value is) you need to write your proposal.
You probably won’t need our help as long as you feel completely confident that you can write your value proposition in compellingly influential language. Let me give you an example of a statement, that if it applied to you might even compel you to take a look at our sales services.
“If you had a desire to grow your business by 100% in one year, and if you are already turning over €500k per annum with a gross profit margin of 30%, this would yield an additional profit of €300k, would you be interested?”
OK, so were you starting to do the maths, like a one of the people that I once met with did? If you were then you probably realise how powerful statements like that could be in the opening paragraph of any proposal that you delivered to your potential prospects.
Now you have clearly demonstrated the value the customer will get, and by the way it could also be expressed in non-monetary terms, such as feelings, especially if you were selling something like a BMW. The next step is to present evidence of how the customer will definitely obtain that value.
This again can be done through testimonials or reference visits, or could be by proposing a pilot project with clear success criteria, or even guarantees similar to the puppy dog sale, such as; “Why don’t you bring this puppy home and if your six year old daughter doesn’t love it in 2 weeks, we will take it back and you don’t have to pay us a penny.”
Now you know the essential aspects of writing a winning proposal. If you wanted a structure for the key sections of a proposal, it could be something like this.
- Executive summary – here you state pains and desires of the customer and precisely how they will benefit from your offering along with a short summary of what is contained in the rest of the proposal
- Back Ground to proposal – here you look at the customer’s business, what their key issues are and why they need the solution that you are proposing and indeed why they can’t do it themselves.
- Value Proposition – Now write about the unique of your offering and specifically how it is differentiated from competition and how it will precisely solve the customers issues and will deliver value.
- Implementation plan – give the customer timescales and deliverables and indeed what is expected from their side.
- Testimonials and case studies – examples of similar implementations and the results achieved
- About You – Now and Only now you write about who you are and what is great about your company
- Technical Appendix – If there are technical specs or features – include them here in the appendix.
If you follow these guidelines then you will soon find yourself winning more business, it is really that simple, trust me!
You may not even be aware of how powerful the language you use everyday is and as you start to use some of the techniques that my executive coaching clients or my sales coaching clients have learnt, you could continue to use Influential Language to write proposals that Win the Business for you, with more positive results than even you thought possible.
If you feel that there are even more ways that we can help your business now, to confirm where that help could be and how we will significantly add value to you and your business, you may now decide to book a business health check.
This article was written by Peter Lawless, founder of 3R Sales and Marketing – www.3r.ie. For previous articles like this, visit 3R’s Articles. Alternatively, subscribe to Success our free monthly Information Bulletin with sales and marketing articles.