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How to Write an

Effective Business Proposal

· Business Proposal,Sales,Sales Tips,Sales Process,Successful Sales

We’ve all been asked to send over a proposal at some point in our business lives.

I once had a client send me a 12 page proposal to review before he sent it to his prospect. It was insane. I’ve heard plenty of proponents of a 1 page proposal process, but in my experience, most proposals need at least 2 pages to be done right.

This blog is going to outline both how to create the ideal proposal, as well as the process to use it since a proposal is useless without a sales process.

Here’s the best way to create your proposal...

Short & Sweet

Long or run-on sentences are not helpful.

Everyone has stacks of books they’re trying to read - they don’t need you to give them another one!

Keep things concise. Whether you use bullet points, or outline high level details doesn’t matter. But your prospects will thank you!

Use White Space

When you are designing the layout of your proposal, you can use the blank spots of the paper to draw the eye toward things.

Short sentences on a line by themselves can draw the eye towards the most important pieces to consider whenever possible.

Draw the eye down the page using the blank space!

Page 1: Content “What’s Included”

This is a features-oriented page that outlines what is included with each offered bundle.

Features are tangible items or what can be seen. For a laundry service it might be that the laundry gets picked up and returned once a week with bad buttons replaced and each piece ironed. The point of this page is to help them see exactly what they will receive when they move forward.

Page 2: The Packages & Pricing

Here you’ll list out the title of each feature and each bundle (With pricing). This is where they will chose which bundle matches their budget, and needs.

Everyone loves to negotiate and no one likes to feel taken advantage of.

I typically set out three packages on a grid:

The process to go with it…

Discovery Appointment

When someone asks for a quote, first step is to set a discovery appointment. Either in-person or via a video-sharing software like Zoom. You want to be able to command their full attention, which doesn’t happen often over the phone.

For this meeting, follow the basic sales process. Build trust and rapport in this meeting and then move on to identify what their needs are. Beyond this, make sure you’re identifying both the minutiae in their needs and the big-picture desires they’ve got. Figure out what they need at an emotional level: remember that sales is not about logic.

After this, follow it up with a story. Give them an example of some sort of success for someone that came out of working with you, so they can understand what that is going to be like.

Close the meeting by letting them know that you will prepare a quote with several options to go over with them in the next meeting. Set that meeting, and let them know that you’ll send them the content portion of the quote (Page 1) by X date (a few days prior to your meeting) to give them time to look it over. Let them know that you’ll review it all together and you’ll have some packages in mind, but we’ll build the one that is the best fit for their needs together.

The key here is to not send them the page with pricing: send them the features-oriented page.

When you leave the meeting to build your quotes, make sure you’re building off the Mike Michalowicz’s Profit First process. He makes it insanely simple and easy for your business to start making real money and his book revolutionized my profits!

Then send them the Features page and you’re ready to show up for the next meeting.

Make sure you bring copies of both sheets, and enough copies for everyone in the meeting plus a few extras.

Now it’s time to work the magic. Show up for the next meeting and:

1 - Build trust and rapport! You’re going to do this every time, and it is imperative to do every single time.

2 - Quickly review the content of the last meeting. Remind them that you’re paying attention to what they had to say. Let them know that you’re okay with not moving forward with the sale if it won’t help them, but that you want to set up a process for moving forward today if it does seem like it’d be a good fit.

Doing this eliminates their ability to object and say that they need to think about it because you’re giving them the opportunity to do it in the meeting with you. It also means that if they think anyone else needs to be involved in the conversation, they’re going to pull that person in right away (part of why you need multiple copies of the proposals).

3 - Now it’s time to review the content quote. Piece by piece to discuss how each feature fits their desires or needs. Cross out the items they do not want, highlight the ones they do and make whatever adjustments are needed at this point.

4 - Once they’ve reviewed the Content Quote, now you can reveal the Price Sheet and hand those out. You might edit with your pen based on the conversation you’ve just had and create a 4th option, but doing this with them gives them the opportunity to buy in to the process and the quote!

5 - Once you have a package they prefer, step through how you will implement the process and what’s needed to get this off the ground.

6 - Ask for the close! So often sales are lost because people just don’t ask for the close. So ask for them to move forward with you. You might have to handle some objections here, but this process is designed to work through those prior to getting to asking for the close.

This quote process and design is something I’ve used a lot!

And it works! With everyone from CEOs to COOs to CFOs, people have come back months later because my quote was the one that stuck in their head the most. It’s not a guarantee, but it is a great and successful process!

If you’ve read Mike’s book and you want the chance to hear from him in person and get to meet him, make sure you check out the Grow Retreat happening in January! He’s going to be speaking on some never-before-heard content, and going through a workshop with us on creating organic growth in your business. But make sure you sign up for your interview to the event soon, tickets are selling fast!

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