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Did you know that 60% of all business proposals end up in a black hole; that’s when you hear nothing from the customer, not a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. Avoid these 9 deadly mistakes before sending your proposal, and significantly close more deals!
Timing is everything in sales! Is it the right time now to send this proposal? Is it a holiday for your client? Are they on vacation or super busy with something else right now? Do they expect to get your proposal today? When do you think competitors will send their proposals? Answer all these questions before you hit the send button, and make sure you have the perfect timing.
Who will do the work? What is going to be delivered? Where will the work be done? When will the project be complete, when is the payment due? How will the work be done, deployed, managed? Why have you chosen this solution/alternative? If your proposal does not cover all the answers for these questions, go back and revise it before it is too late!
Every business proposal should include all the critical sections. Have you missed the Executive Summary? Do you have the Terms & Conditions? Did you showcase previous projects, where you solved similar problems? Make sure you have all these sections in your proposal if you want higher close rates!
We all know that sales is all about guiding our prospect through our sales process. But sometimes we just forget the importance of clearly showing our customer the next step we want them to take. Whether it is to review your proposal, arrange another meeting, or e-sign the proposal, never forget to ask for the next step.
Proofread proofread proofread! Studies show that proposals having typos or sloppy grammar have significantly less chance to get signed! Always use a tool like Grammarly and have a second person in your sales process, who is literate and whom you can trust, to proof your proposal before you send it.
Size matters, in proposals! You keep it too long, no one’s going to read all the details. You keep it too short, you look unprofessional and not well prepared. Make sure you understand your customer’s expectations on the length (e.g. page limits for the RFP). As a rule of thumb, for standard proposals, most customers expect to receive a 3-page offer.
Personalization is everything today! Never ever give the impression that you have just used a template with copy-paste sections. Make sure, you have designed and branded your proposal properly, embedded a personalized video, added relevant(!) references, prioritized your services/products, and personalized your pricing with options.
Have you done your homework? Do you know who are the key decision makers for this proposal? Is the CFO involved? What about the VP of Marketing? Who is accountable? Have you mapped the buyer’s journey to your sales process? Before sending your proposal, make sure you have addressed every key decision maker’s concerns.
The value your customer will get from this work, is the difference between the benefit they will have and the price they will pay for that benefit (value = benefit - price). Your business proposal have to portray a solution as an investment, and clearly show the return on investment, by directly connecting your price (the investment) to the value they will receive.
Next time you send your proposal, make sure you follow this checklist, and avoid the black hole of sales. Download, print and post the 1-page version of this checklist on your wall!