Sending a quote or sales proposal to a client may seem like a basic step in your sales process; something that just has to be done after a meeting. However, it can be one of the most powerful, tangible sales tools you have. Don’t underestimate its value.
The proposal you send your client is perhaps one of the only tangible references to your highly convincing sales pitch, so you must make sure it’s personalised, get’s your value proposition across and is straightforward to understand.
Sometimes, sending over a simple one-page quote with a summary of the work and the price is perfectly adequate. For existing clients who are familiar with you and your solution, this is usually the standard approach. However, for new clients who will compare you to other services, this won’t help you stand out – and a well-written email summary with an attached price is NOT the answer.
Here’s how to structure and write an effective sales proposal:
The proposal introduction is an opportunity to outline your understanding of your client’s situation, remind them of the ‘pain’ they’re in and how you can help.
It’s important to remind the reader who you are and how you can help. Your proposal could also be passed from your contact to someone else in the business who’s never heard of you, so you should always outline who you are.
As much as you can on paper, you need to establish trust and experience to the reader. Your company introduction should always be tailored to the client’s current situation, and not your “About Us” page from the website.
When explaining how you’re proposing to solve the client’s problem, always remember to bring it back to the value you will add – what will the outcome be for the client.
In this section, you can add some technical detail about your solution, but remember to keep it simple. If your service has multiple stages, or your product has various features, this is where you can outline them. If you’re compared to a similar product, this is the page your client will check to see if you’re adding value.
Top tip: While writing, when you outline a solution or make reference to a product’s capabilities, ask yourself: “So what?”. If your next sentence doesn’t tell you how the client will benefit, the client most likely won’t understand what you’re trying to say.
Price and timescales
Your price should always be clear and easy to understand. If you have various options, or a shopping list pricing system, be sure to make it clear what the difference is between them. If it’s not clear, consider simplifying your offer.
Make sure you reinforce all the elements of your product and service next to the price (a bulleted list of all the things you outlined in the ‘your solution’ section). This is important if for whatever reason the price gets separated from the rest of the proposal, or someone skips to straight the price page.
Finally, don’t forget to add timescales. Make sure you answer the following questions: how long will it take? And when can you start?
Top tip: Consider putting together a simple Gantt chart within the proposal. You can use the number of days/weeks/months instead of actual dates if you want to keep things open. This can help give the client a sense of urgency.
Call to action
Always end your proposal with a call to action. What does the client need to do if they want to progress with things?
Don’t forget the design
This document is perhaps one of the only tangible sales document you’ll send your customer. It’s therefore vital for this document to look great.
Although professionally designed documents can help you stand out, you don’t need to spend hours on the design. Using a simple Microsoft Word or a free Google Doc template can help structure the layout of your proposal.
Remember: A fancy document with terrible content can lose you a sale just as quickly as when you present an excellent proposal poorly.
How ETC can help
If you need help writing winning sales proposals, please get in touch.
If you’re new to ETC, why not contact us for a free new business review? We’ll spend two hours with you, giving you professional coaching and will leave you with actions for immediate implementation.
This is the sixth in our sales series. If you haven’t already, you can read the others here: