5 Principles How to Write a Winning Sales Proposal

5 Principles How to Write a Winning Sales Proposal

The success of a sales proposal is often crucial for the business and consequently for the success of the entire company. Read on for 4 principles to take your sales proposal to the next level and impress your customers.

A sales proposal is a formal document that you use to offer your product or services to a potential customer. It aims to persuade the customer to make a sales appointment or directly order and purchase. What can you do to achieve this goal? Be clear about who you are addressing, in what form and what action you want to motivate the potential customer to take. And then follow these tips.

1. Pay attention to the visual aspect

The sales proposal is the business card of the company, so make sure you pay attention to the form. Keep the email as concise as possible and include the proposal itself as a PDF document in an attachment. The customer must immediately associate the document with your company, for example through the visual side of the document. Therefore, use at least letterhead. Even nicer and more practical is a template prepared by a graphic designer, in which you always just edit the information according to the client's requirements.

TIP: If you want to approach a VIP client, don't be afraid to get creative. Send a letter and play with the graphics or paper texture, add flyers or brochures. Or turn the letter into a jigsaw puzzle or send a gift pack straight away, which will showcase your product or service even better and definitely catch the customer's eye. Or create a separate landing page on your website, tweak it perfectly and send the client a link.

2. Forward all information

Equally important is the content. While keep the text of the email short and just hint at what you're offering, be specific in the attachment. Pay attention to the structure and clarity of the proposal:

  • describe the product or service and its benefits to the customer,
  • provide a visualisation of the solution or a demonstration of the product to help the customer visualise it,
  • outline the workflow and what will happen after the order,
  • add a time estimate of how long each step will take and when the goods will be delivered,
  • add a quotation, including a breakdown of what the price includes,
  • don't forget the CTA (call to action) so the customer knows what to do after reading the quote.
List - what must be included in the commercial offer

Please specify more than one option in the quotation. The customer decides what is best for them and can find the comparison directly from you, without having to look for competitors. Moreover, psychologists say that people usually choose the middle ground to avoid extremes. So, as the middle of the three price options, list the one you want the customer to choose.

Are you short on time to write honest offers? Take a look at proven tips on how business people improve time management.

3. Give the Sales Proposal a clear structure

Formally, the offer is always different depending on what you are selling. For example, if you are creating an offer for an ERP system, it will be significantly longer than an offer for one-off graphic works.

In any case, the offer should be clear and with a logical structure, so that the potential client can quickly find what he needs.

The structure of the menu may look like this:

  1. Title (for example, Business Offer for Company XY)
  2. Content (for larger offers)
  3. Brief summary
  4. Description of the client's problem or situation
  5. The design of the solution you offer
  6. Your results for similar jobs and references
  7. Work schedule
  8. Price list
  9. Terms and Conditions
  10. Prompt what the potential customer should do and contact the merchant

Choose from it the points that are relevant for your product or service, and put together your offer from them.

4. Think about the customer and tell them what they need in time

It's a huge mistake to talk about yourself in the menu. Yes, you need to sell your product or services. But if you brag too much, the customer will quickly throw the proposal in the trash.

Come at it from the other end. Show the customer that they are the focus of your sales proposal:

  • First, mention the problem or need they have,
  • then offer a solution,
  • then go on to describe your product.

If we start from the structure from the previous point, you practically only talk about yourself in point 6 –⁠ Your results in similar jobs and references. The rest of the offer must make the customer feel that you are really interested in solving their problem.

5. Tailor the sales proposal to the customer

Personalization is related to this. The customer needs to get the feeling from the proposal that you are writing only for them. It takes more effort and time than if you were copying a template, but it will all come back to you. Use a name instead of a vague salutation, include the name of the company you are addressing in the text, and introduce the sales proposal with a paragraph from which the client immediately knows you are talking about them. For example, use information from a business meeting or call.

The CRM will help you with tailored sales proposals. It creates a specific offer directly from the business case entered in the system. In addition, you have all the information you have gathered from the client togethe. Most CRMs offer a free trial version, so you can test offer creation and other features for free and without obligation.


What's next? Give the customer time and have a follow-up ready

Waiting for a response is nerve-wracking, but a potential client needs time to read, discuss with management, and think. Use this time to prepare follow-up steps for all possible scenarios.

If you have agreed a rough date with the client by which they will hear from you, stick to it and don't remind yourself earlier. Otherwise, wait at least a week after sending the offer. If nothing happens, proceed as follows:

  • Remind yourself with an email that is concise and free of commercial jargon so you don't come off as if you want to sell at all costs. Just like when you are waiting for a visitor who will be late and you text them when they will arrive. But at the same time, remain nice and friendly to remind them that you will be a pleasure to work with.
  • If the client does not respond to this email for several days, call them.
  • If the client hasn't given you a clear answer even after a few weeks or doesn't call back, it's time to let them go. There is no point in devoting energy to a client you feel is not interested. Better focus on other jobs. Better focus on other jobs.

Not every business offer ends in success. The most common reason for failure is price. But it also happens that your products or services were not relevant or interesting enough for a potential client. In that case, work on your lead selection.

The method of identifying suitable potential customers is called lead scoring. We describe how to proceed with lead scoring in a separate article.