Selling yourself on paper is one of the most difficult things to do. You might be excellent in person, but unlike face-to-face exchanges, there’s no immediate feedback to help you figure out if you’re on the right track.
Nothing is more frustrating than spending a great deal of time writing a business proposal only to have it rejected. When this happens, entrepreneurs can’t help but wonder where they went wrong. More often than not, it’s not about their talents or experiences; it’s about the business proposal you submitted.
Here are 10 of the most common reasons why your business proposals are being rejected- along with solutions to help you avoid the same mistakes next time.
Not Addressing The Client’s Requirements
No matter how well your business proposal is written, it will be dismissed if it doesn’t adequately address the client’s specific needs. If your prospective client fails to understand the solutions you’re offering, it opens the door for another company to grab their attention and win the contract instead of you.
Solution: Do your homework. Understand the prospective client you are catering to and keep their priorities in mind as you write your proposal. In short, you should customize the proposal to address all the client’s needs (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/21834).
Spelling and Grammatical Errors
If your business proposal is full of grammatical and spelling errors, it will leave the prospect with a really bad impression of you and your company. Not only will it be hard to read, but it will also show the client that you are careless and you do not pay attention to detail. How can they be sure that you can handle their project any better than you handled writing your proposal?
Solution: Before submitting your proposal to the prospective client, go through it to fine tune the details. The easiest way to do this is to put it aside for a day and proofread it with fresh eyes the next day. Make sure all claims and statistics are correct. You can also ask several people to review it, and if you still feel uncertain, hire a professional editor to assist you (https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/marketing/avoid-these-common-grammatical-mistakes-in-your-business-writing/).
Me, Myself and I
It’s true that you need to get your prospect to see that you are the best person/company for the project. But if your proposal is only about you, you may turn off the client. Remember, a proposal is not about you—it’s about solving the needs of the potential client.
Solution: You should understand that the prospect is much more interested in what you are offering to help them rather than your credentials. The client wants to know how much they can benefit from doing business with you. Therefore, minimize self-talk and provide valuable information (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/1843500.
Selling Yourself Short
When crafting your business proposal, don’t forget that there are probably many other people submitting similar proposals to the prospect. Don’t sell yourself short by merely conforming to the needs highlighted in the client’s proposal request.
Solution: It is essential that you distinguish your proposal from those of your competitors in a professional manner. Emphasize what makes you different and better, and use it as a selling point. Don’t give them a quick reason to discard your proposal; get them to pay full attention to your creativity and clarity (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/21834).
Too Much Jargon
Many people begin their proposals with a lot of unnecessary details. When reading such proposals, the client will likely lose interest and probably trash the proposal.
Solution: Within the first few minutes of the client reading your proposal, she should know who you are, what you do and what you can offer to solve her problems. This will grab her attention and prompt her to read your proposal through to the end. The best part is that there is proposal software, like ClientPoint, which has templates that you can use to craft the beautiful and attention grabbing business proposals (https://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/7-tips-for-better-business-writing.html).
Failure to Sell Benefits/End-Results
No client is going to spend money on a project that has no apparent financial gain. As a professional, there is no excuse for now proving to the client how you will help them either earn more money or save money. Your job is to show the client how much they can benefit financially from doing business with you. They will trust you more if you can clearly show the financial benefits of the project.
Solution: One way to sell the benefits to the client is to clearly state your goals. A simple way to do this is to write down an outline of your goals in six sentences, then expand the outline showing the end results of your proposal, just to give the prospect an idea of what to expect (https://proposal.staging.wpengine.com/present-a-business-proposal/).
A Poorly Formatted Proposal
An poorly formatted proposal may mean that regardless of whether you are qualified to handle the project, you may be disregarded on the basis of how you look. Remember, first impressions are very important. If your proposal is not clearly laid out, a rejection letter may soon be headed your way.
Solution: A business proposal is like a story, and every story has an introduction, body and conclusion. Think of the proposal as a way to tell a story and write it in view of that. Take your time to format everything nicely. Add pictures, use bigger headers, smaller paragraphs and color where appropriate (https://proposal.staging.wpengine.com/present-a-business-proposal/). To give your proposals a professional high quality layout and format, use ClientPoint.
Not Including Client Testimonials
Every client wants to see that you have satisfied clients. If you don’t include client testimonials in your proposal, it can really hurt your chances of being offered the project.
Solution: If you don’t have client testimonials, consider writing a few. I don’t mean fake ones, but approach clients who you are sure will speak volumes about your business. An excellent customer testimonial will go a long way in setting you apart from your competition (https://proposal.staging.wpengine.com/questions-every-business-proposal-must-answer/).
No Contact Information
This may seem very obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people forget to provide their contact information when writing a business proposal. Without contact information, the client has no way to get in touch with you.
Solution: The primary purpose of writing a business proposal is to be awarded a contract. As such, it is important to ensure you provide contact information so that the client can easily get back to you when replying to your proposal (https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/01/18/8-keys-to-better-business-writing/#d55f1ab15dea).
No call to Action
Another common mistake committed when writing a business proposal is failing to add a call to action at the end. No matter how good the body of your proposal might be, conversion greatly depends on having a great call to action.
Solution: When submitting the proposal, you should not forget to put in a crystal clear call to action. It could lead to a follow-up meeting, a contract or additional opportunities. A call to action ensures that if there is a next step, you’ve openly told the client what it is (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241223).
If you want your business proposals, quotes, and contracts to stand out and give you the best chance at winning new clients, use ClientPoint Software. It makes creating and formatting professional business proposals, quotes, and contracts fast and easy.