A Guide to the Essentials of Writing an Effective Sales Proposal
Written sales proposals are a necessary evil; they require a significant amount of effort and creativity, but this is frequently rewarded with closure of the sale. Writing sales proposals of quality, value and credibility is an involved process but is an invaluable skill for sales managers and sales people looking for improved results. Writing Sales Proposals, another comprehensive and informative business skills training course from Maguire Training, takes delegates step-by-step through the process of creating highly-effective sales proposals which contain everything the potential customer is looking for in order to make a favourable purchasing decision.
There is no quick and easy route to perfecting the effective sales proposal other than formal training, but for anyone whose daily role involves writing proposals this handy guide from Maguire Training gives you the essential information required to improve the most important aspects for more effective sales proposals.
Readability is of the utmost importance
Firstly, a sales proposal should be easy to read and understand. Information should be presented in bite-sized chunks with no more than one or two subjects per paragraph. A clear, readable font such as Arial or Verdana should be used. The font size should be 12-point for ease of reading, but certainly not smaller than 10-point.
Paragraphs should be led by a clear an emboldened header which states the subject(s) covered. Spacing and graphics should be used appropriately to break up text, and page layouts should not be demanding on the eye.
Content must be customer-focused
It can be tempting to turn a sales proposal into a PR exercise for your business, but the best sales proposals are all about the customer and demonstrate that their needs have been listened to, understood and addressed in detail.
There are a number of ways in which the content of an effective sales proposal can be written to demonstrate customer focus.
Always refer to the customer by name in your proposal, giving it greater prominence than references to your own business.
State clearly the desired outcome expressed by the customer as a result of purchasing from you. List each of the customer's specific problems, challenges and issues in order of importance to the customer and precisely but succinctly explain how your product or service is the ideal solution for each. Emphasise the benefits of your offering to the customer, rather than detailing its features.
Sales proposals should be tailored appropriately
Whilst there's no harm in creating a generic sales proposal template, it is vital that this is tailored in accordance with each individual customer's need. For example, your 'base' proposal may include technical data and specifications which may be meaningless if your customer has insufficient technical knowledge. Similarly, the language used should be tailored to ensure ease of understanding by the recipient. Ambiguous phrasing and overuse of technical jargon should be avoided. The information required by the customer and upon which they will base their purchasing decision should be obvious and easily found in the document and any claims made for your solution relevant to your customer's requirements should be backed up by real-world evidence.
Writing a thoughtful sales proposal which ticks all of the boxes in terms of meeting customer requirements and encouraging them to purchase is an art which every salesperson can benefit from learning. For delegates who prefer a step-by-step approach to learning in a place and at a time that suits them best the excellent Writing Sales Proposals is available as an online training course delivered via Maguire Training's easy to use E-learning system.