Whether you’ve been asked to present a sales proposal or not, you will have to provide a written document.
However this shouldn’t be a vain attempt at War & Peace or Bleak House. If ever there was a case of less being more, this is it. With the exception of major bids or specific requests for proposals (RFP’s), written sales proposals need not exceed four pages at most. So how do you write a winning sales proposal? Well, you need to include just ten headings –
1) The prospect’s current situation.
2) Their goals, aims or objectives for the next one or two financial years.
3) The issues, problems or challenges preventing their goals being reached.
4) Key activities you will undertake to help the prospect achieve their goals.
5) Joint accountabilities – exactly what you and the prospect are responsible for.
6) Financial expenses in detail.
7) Payment terms (in two parts) –
- The financial contribution your input will make to the prospect’s business.
- Two or three payment options.
8) Timing – comprising of the project’s start date and when the prospect pays you.
9) Acceptance (in two parts) –
- The payment option in number 7b. to be chosen
- Signatures indicating acceptance of the details, terms & conditions above.
10) Appendix or addendum – any and all relevant specifications, technical details and corresponding literature.
Opinions differ as to how such a written proposal should be delivered. One school of thought is that it should be presented, or at least handed over personally, so that a closing discussion may take place.
However, there is another school of thought suggesting a proposal should be emailed or preferably sent by courier. Consulting advisor Alan Weiss believes a proposal should reflect what has already been discussed and verbally agreed, including pricing. He reasons that in another meeting, the prospect could raise further issues or want to negotiate. Alan Weiss argues that a proposal isn’t a negotiating document, so why return in person to discuss it?
Is this a valid point or should the prospect decide?
Feel free to comment below.