Home > Ideas > The Proposal – Sending across the right message

The Proposal – Sending across the right message

It is important that a Sales campaign delivers the desired message at every stage – to assure a win at the end of the process you need to be aware of what needs to be done every step of the way.

–          You make a solid and impressive approach,

–          Understand the customer’s pain-points / needs well

–          Follow it up with a brilliant presentation

The customer has asked you to submit a proposal to take the purchase forward. It is important that you get it right because the success of your campaign hinges on the quality of this document.

Remember: The proposal has to be customer focused,  it must mention them before talking about you and present  benefits before features.

Start with a preamble – present the background and build a solid foundation before offering the solution:

–          Give a brief generic overview of the industry segment that your client’s company is in.

–          Follow that with a summary of the initial discussion that took place in the early stage of the sale

–          Give a clear and step-by-step outline of the pain points that were unearthed as the sale evolved

–          Present data wherever needed and remember to include the names of the people involved in the sale

Once the platform is created it is time to propose the solution; this is the most important section and it should be the most compelling one too. Create a strong storyline that appeals to the reader.

–          Outline what benefits will accrue to them by going for the suggested solution

–          Clearly mention how the pain points will be tackled and resolved

–          Also mention how your solution can do it better than others

–          The more you talk solutions the less the chance of objections

–          The features should follow the solution – provide the specifications, quantities & price

–          Ensure that this is complete and nothing is missed out

–          Get it cross-checked and proofed by another person if it’s a big / critical one

It has to be visually appealing:

–          Although pictures are not essential some graphic elements can make the proposal interesting – if you have data to support your pitch try presenting it as a chart instead of plain vanilla data.

–          Choose the right font / font-size for easy reading.

–          Create well marked and logical sub-sections and ensure that there is a flow throughout the document; each subsequent section should logically follow from the previous one.

–          Use of colours should be judicious and under-stated rather than loud and jarring

Summarise by providing the highlights of your solution and how the customer’s pain points will be tackled.

Some points to be remembered:

–          Keep it simple and readable – avoid jargon and complicated explanations

–          Don’t be hesitant, tentative or half – hearted while delivering the message

–          The message should not be unclear or ambiguous

–          Ensure there are no hidden clauses that may become irritants later on

–          All the Technical and Commercial terms need to be mentioned clearly

–          Mention delivery terms and after-sale support terms

–          Indicate how and where the customer can get support at every stage

The Sales Proposal has to be comprehensive, complete, clear and correct – it states your intent and your commitment. It’s in your interest to send across the right message first time and every time.

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  1. Devi Nayar
    March 20, 2012 at 6:18 am

    jayadev, i wish i’d read this 10 years back when my partner and i drafted our first sales proposal. we talked about us first because we thought introduction was more important considering we were new and ours was a novel service. we summarised all our services in one big, congealed mass and it was all ‘plain vanilla’. took us years to realise how painfully plain and indifferent our proposal sounded.

    the current sales proposal talks about the client and the category first , about us ( cos our service is still kinda novel) and then our solutions in a Q&A format.

    On the topic of sales proposal letter, i’d like to share an anecdote. we once made a pitch to this kottayam achayan, smart business man, who we knew for sure wanted our reports, but just would not give us a confirmation. on closer inspection we found out that our sales proposal letter asked him to give us a consent order confirming the contract which stumped the poor guy. but we needed a consent letter from him. so we drafted the letter stating all salient factors and asked him to say YES, I AGREE . and he did :-))

    • JayadevM
      March 20, 2012 at 6:48 am

      Devi, I am sure you make smart and interesting proposals now. 10 years back you were learning and some mistakes are permitted at that stage. The important thing here is that your realised the mistakes and initiated corrective action.

      The only change I can suggest in the sequence you have indicated is to switch the last two – the solution first and then about yourself, because no matter how good you are, the customer (that “self-centred guy” who gives us the revenue – Don’t tell him I said that! :)) always gets priority.

      The Achayan story is cute – Yes, I’ve seem a few people like that one too. Horses for courses. 🙂

      Thank you for sparing time to make such a detailed response.

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