How to Make Your Business Proposal a Strong Sales Tool When You Don't Know How to Sell

September 27, 2016

When it comes to writing a business proposal, the subject of selling does not get the attention it deserves. Perhaps you have a full grasp of the value of your company’s product or service, but not much of a head for how to sell. Or maybe, you think selling is only for extroverted people who love to sell, but too difficult for you to undertake.

Either way, if you can’t persuade prospects to buy your company’s product or services, you are going to have a difficult time winning new clients and growing your business. So, how can you move prospects through your sales funnel from interest to purchase? Are there any steps you can follow?

In this article, we look at eight ways to sell the value of your business proposal and increase the chances that you’ll walk away with new clients.

Tell a Story

Begin your business proposal with a compelling story. This will engage the client right from the beginning. If you can relate your story to your audience, you have a higher chance of capturing their attention. The goal of every story is to address the problem you’re solving in a thought-provoking manner

Your Solution

Share what’s unique about your product or service and how it will address the issue faced by the client. Here you need to outline how you’re going to tackle the project from the beginning to the end. Get into the essentials of the steps you’ll take, emphasizing anything notable that sets you ahead of the competition. This section should essentially speak into the details of the project while addressing every need in the most comprehensive way. (

Your Achievements

Early on in your business proposal you want to build credibility and show your client that you’re company provides the best solution to the problem they want to solve. Take time to share the relevant experience you’ve had solving similar problems for other companies. You can start by presenting your company in a way that relates to the client’s needs. Impress the prospect with what your business has achieved to date (hires, sales, contracts, etc.). Feel free to include every important detail that will give your prospect a feel for your brand and help foster trust (

Your Competition

Again, a very crucial part of your proposal, and many people omit this section or fail to provide sufficient detail, is to describe what sets them apart from their competition. The smartest way to show your value proposition against your competitors is to show the numbers in a matrix format. This is where you list your competitors on one side of the page, and then list benefits across the top and place check marks in the boxes for each company. Ideally, the check marks will communicate that your competitors lack in the major areas to show your competitive advantage (

Your Return on Investment

Prospects tend to care about this section the most. In fact, it’s certainly the part of your proposal they’ll spend the most time evaluating. How will help them either make money or save money? A proposal is your ultimate sales tool, so don’t be afraid to tell your prospect what they have to gain by choosing your company. If necessary, spell everything out so that the client can fully understand how your solution will help them make or save money. Being able to clearly validate the return on investment you can provide will always be one of the biggest factors in whether you win or lose the contract (

Your Team

Clients invest in people first and ideas second. As such, you should ensure that you share the details about the team behind the project and why they are the best people for the project. You can start by identifying each team member and presenting a short resume for each. Also, be sure to mention the skill sets you may be missing on the team. Most start-ups may be missing some significant talent, be it expertise, marketing, sales or financial management. By so doing, you let the client know what they’re agreeing to upfront (

Your Financial Projections

Financial projections are a vital aspect of any business proposal. It is imperative that you back your numbers by sharing accurate statistics and making realistic assumptions. Most often, this part is outlined depending on the solutions you’re offering. It may either be an itemized fee summary or a payment schedule. In case your financial projections exhibit rapid growth, be sure to explain the reason behind this inflection points (

How to Sell your Proposal Effectively

Now that you know the core areas to include in your proposal, how do you increase its chances of receiving support? Here are two specific tips on how you should sell the proposal effectively.

* Keep it Short, Simple and Concise: Don’t try to show that you know more than the client about your proposal. Focus on the main points and avoid getting stuck on trivial things. Always, remember that the client is a busy person and time is a fundamentally important asset. As such, don’t waste time with massive reading material. Get to the point on the first page, before the client's attention is divided (

* Sell Benefits Not Features: Don’t begin your proposal by talking about you and your company’s achievements. If you do this, the client will get bored and end up trashing your proposal. Your prospect is interested in knowing how you are going to help them earn more money or save more money, or both. So explain in detail how you’re going to help them in the areas that are most important to them. By doing this, you make the client more receptive to your solutions and proposal (

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