7 steps to writing a sales proposal that wins deals

Do you want to know what is the secret sauce for writing sales proposals with the highest conversion rates? Yes, you probably do. But here’s the problem: The secret sauce doesn’t exist.

If one thing works for one business, then it probably doesn’t work for another. But there is one thing that exists, and that is “the 7 immutable steps” which can help you write better sales proposal and win more deals.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to monitor your competitors and find their best practices

  • How to do research and prepare yourself for your potential client

  • How to structure your sales proposal

  • Tips and tricks on how to write an outstanding sales proposal


Are you ready for a step number one? Let’s dive in.

Step 1: Keep an eye on your competitors

Always remember this:

In business, there are no enemies—only competitors who are your best friends because you’re learning valuable things from them.

But why should you monitor your competitors?

Because they are already familiar with things you may not know such as:

  • Your target personas—their interests, most common behaviors, needs and challenges
  • Different approaches and sales strategies which bring results in your industry
  • How to create engaging content, or even create great sales proposals

If you’re writing a sales proposal for the first time, monitoring your competition is important because you will get new ideas on approaching your potential customers. You can also find out what are their unique value propositions which they are pitching to their potential customers. This helps you create better sales proposals with significant competitive advantages.

You can do that in three ways:

  1. Sign up for their newsletters: This helps you understand different acquisition, retention and educational methods which your competitors are using (Maybe you can even find relevant resources about their sales proposals—they will for sure mention some of your target customers’ pain points or their needs).
  2. Follow their social media and online publishing: This helps you understand the topics they focus on, giving you insights into the benefits and value they are projecting to their target audience.
  3. Check their website: Keep a close watch on any website changes like keywords, CTAs, etc. This helps you understand the keywords and phrases that resonate with your audience. For example, your competitors found that people who type, “How to create a Website” instead of “Website development agency” are more likely to buy their services, so they decided to target different keywords.

By carefully monitoring your competitors you can understand your target audience better, and even find some useful methods for acquiring new customers and writing sales proposals for your industry.

You can use tools like Competitors App for monitoring your competitors’ newsletters, social media channels, SEO and PPC campaigns, website changes, etc.

Step 2: Good preparation is everything

Always be prepared and do your homework on time—later will be late.

You already know some things about your target audience from your competitors which you didn’t know before. But that is not enough.

Do your research for a particular potential customer to whom you are sending the sales proposal.

Apart from finding the history of the company, their service or product and understanding their mission and goals, ask yourself the questions below and write answers.

  • What are the potential customer’s biggest needs and problems?
  • Which solutions did they use before? (if you can—because this can be very helpful)
  • How can I help them to understand their needs and problems? (People are usually half conscious, or perhaps, not at all about their problems)
  • How does my solution help them solve their problems?
  • Will they achieve the desired results?
  • Can I convince them that I’m the best person for the job and how?
  • What would be my approach and solution to their problem?
  • What are the benefits of my product/solution? 

Of course, these are just some of the basic questions you need to ask yourself. You can add more to the list and be prepared for every situation. When you know the answers to the questions above, you can:

  1. Create highly personalized sales proposals which correspond to their needs and problems drastically increase your chances of making a deal.
  2. If it comes to a live or a video sales meeting, you will be prepared and can answer all their questions confidently.

Step 3: Structure your sales proposal

A well-defined structure is what differentiates a good sales proposal from a bad one. The body of your sales proposal should be easy to read, without too many paragraphs and too much text. Try to keep it simple, clear and as much short as possible.

Your sales proposal should contain a few important parts:

  • Introduction: Introduce yourself, your team and what is the product/solution all about. You can also add your existing customers (if any) and their testimonials to build trust and credibility.
  • Discussion: Describe the potential customer’s business challenges and needs, and what can happen if they don’t solve them quickly.
  • Approach: Define your approach towards the business challenge—the objectives and milestones. You can also briefly describe the methodology you will use. It’s best to not reveal all the information and leave something to talk about when you get on a meeting with the prospect to sign the contract.
  • Benefits: Convince your potential customer as to how they will benefit from your solution. This part is really important because you are not selling them your solution, you are selling them a value. Don’t sound pushy and sales-y.
  • Charge: Clearly define the cost of your solution from high to low. Also, include any additional costs that the prospect should endure such as installation cost or for consultation.
  • End of the sales proposal: Remind your potential customer why you are the best choice and briefly outline the benefits of your solution, or in other words, the sales pitch towards the end of the sales proposal.

Let’s deep-dive into each part in the following steps.

Step 4: Present yourself as an expert

The introduction is one of the most important parts of every sales proposal. This is where your potential customer will assess whether your solution can help solve their business challenge.

The crucial part here is that you must convince them that you have the expertise to deliver the best work and on time, and that your solution can help solve their business challenge.

In the introduction, briefly explain your company, the solution, your customers and their testimonials.

Keep this section short and crisp. Don’t write too much about yourself or your company as it may be very annoying.

Here’s an example of a good introduction:

“In just two years, ScaleWizz Growth Hacking agency scaled 20 startups from scratch to acquisitions worth several millions of dollars. Like these companies, {name of your potential client company}, is looking to onboard its first trial users, test different customer experience methods, convert trial users into premium and to achieve a hockey stick growth.

In this proposal, we will discuss how our methods can help you achieve the desired milestones and onboard high-quality users for your company.”

While mentioning your existing customers, make sure to mention those who share the same pain points, or are of the same company size, or are from the same industry. This will help build trust and credibility.

One crucial point to remember in the introduction is that never allow your potential customer to feel like they are superior over you. Avoid sentences like:

“We are so grateful for giving us an opportunity to pitch you our sales proposal”

or

“It’s a great honor to speak with such a great businessman as you are”

You are the expert. Always present yourself as an authority in your field and industry. In that way, people will appreciate you the most.

Step 5: Convince your potential customer that they need your help

Usually, people are not aware that they have a business challenge or that some processes can be done in a much cheaper and faster way.

Your mission here is to make them realize that business challenge—whether it’s long-term or short-term—in detail. Talk to the potential customer about what can happen if they don’t resolve the problem.

For example, if you are a Website Development agency, it can look something like this:

“Aviator is a leading coffee chain in Belgrade (personally, my first option), but you have a lot of strong competitors, like Coffee Dream, Kafeterija and others.

Aviators succeeded to build a strong brand with Social Media marketing, but the website is what’s missing.

With well styled and eye-catching website that follows your branding standards, Aviator can: 

  • Improve it’s branded presence on the internet
  • Make promotions and coupons easier to promote, access and apply with a well-developed website
  • Increase your online sales of coffee packages and ensure your monopoly over the market.

Without a well-designed and engaging website, Aviator can easily lose its competitive advantages over its competition.”

Step 6: How can your solution solve their problem?

This step is very important in every sales proposal.

This is where your potential customers will actually see whether you can solve their problem and can deliver results on time.

In this step, you need to explain to them about your main objective and milestones, and what they can expect from your solution.

Taking the same example as above, if you are developing a website for a potential customer, you need to mention by when can they expect the website. For instance, if you need 2 weeks to finish the website, promise them a 3 weeks timeframe. It’s always better to buy more time and give an extended deadline in order to be sure that you can deliver it.

Here’s an example of how a marketing service can explain their step-by-step milestone in detail to their potential customers in the sales proposal.

“In the first month of our cooperation, we will create social media channels and start generating content and campaigns.

In the second month, we will start with paid promotions to retarget users who have left items in their cart but didn’t make a purchase.

In the third month, we will continue with paid promotions and start building newsletters list.

At the end of the third month, you can expect a 50% increase in sales.”

You also need to explain your tactics and methods, and how you will achieve the desired results. Don’t reveal all the cards here. They might just use their internal team and execute the process. Make sure you leave some information when you meet them face-to-face—your unique “Know How”.

For example, your unique approach can be something like this:

“ScaleWizz Growth Hacking Agency will use different content and inbound marketing techniques to improve retention of your existing customers. We have tested our tactics on various clients, and you can expect around 60% growth in the first 4 months of our collaboration.

For acquiring new customers for {Name of your potential client company}, we will use some of our best performing Customer Acquisition and Onboarding templates we have used on our existing customers and we are certain that they will bring results.”

Step 7: Your benefits and costs

It’s really important for your potential customer to understand what are the benefits and unique value of your solution.

You are not selling them your product or service. You are not selling them your time or knowledge. You are selling them a value. You are selling them a chance to be successful. You are selling them an opportunity to be more profitable and efficient.

When you think about sales in this way, you will get better conversion rates and, of course, increase in revenue.

Another aspect that is important in every sales proposal is the pricing.

Always leave the pricing for the end—first explain the problems, your approach and convince them that they need your product or service, and then talk about the price.

Make sure you explain about your pricing and plans in detail. If the project is large, for easy understanding, you can break it into stages or even packages.

Remember that everything must be clear and transparent—no hidden costs or your reputation will suffer. You will lose one client, and probably even more. When you explain the price, make sure you start from your highest plan and then explain your low-priced plan.

For example, if you are a Social Media Marketing agency, your pricing model can look like this:

“We have 3 different pricing packages and you can decide what best suits your needs. From our experience, we think that the best package for your needs is Standard one with running paid promotions.

Premium Package – 25 posts per month both on Facebook and Instagram which includes responding to messages and comments – $450

Standard Package – 15 posts per month both on Facebook and Instagram which includes responding to messages and comments – $350

Basic Package – 10 posts per month both on Facebook and Instagram which includes responding to messages and comments – $300

Running Paid Promotions – $150 every month with every package + 10% of the total monthly marketing budget (Recommended monthly budget is at least $400 for your industry”

Making a winning sales proposals shouldn’t be hard when you follow the above 7 steps. Give it a shot in your next sale proposal and let us know.

Good luck in your future battles! 🙂

 

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