Writing That Sales Proposal – How To Help Tilt The Decision In Your Favor

Spare a thought or two for the person who has to read your sales proposal.

Imagine-this person, or persons, may have to spend many hours reading several proposals, evaluating them according to specific criteria, and then come up with a decision. Given the pace of today's business, that reading, that decision, could happen late at night or over the weekend. That's the nature of the beast. So even when finding the right organization is really important for the client, it can also be a chore.

What can you do-not just, in your view, as the best organization to do the job-but in your presentation to the client, to make the client's task easier?

I'm a strong believer in the KISS principle-keeping it simple. I'm also a strong believer in using techniques or tools like mind mapping and freewriting to get at the key issues and options in moving a client's desired objective forward.

That may seem a bit of an oxymoron: keep it simple on one hand and using mind mapping to open up all sorts of possibilities on the other. It's no oxymoron. Mind mapping and freewriting allow you to synthesize what's really important. What gets disclosed from techniques, such as mind maps, are usually the essential elements of your proposal.

When you know what these essential elements are, it's now a question of presentation. You have all the parts-the present situation; what the client wants to achieve; how your organization will resolve the issue for maximum client benefit (your USP or Unique Selling Proposal). As much as possible:

o Use bullets to make your points

o Keep the writing friendly but tight

o Use graphics / charts if these give fast, clear images of your intentions

Now, do not keep the client waiting on what this is going to cost, unless the client has specified the budget in advance. I like to know what I'm paying if I'm going to a concert or a musical. Then I can decide if I think it's a worthwhile investment. The client is no different. By specifying cost near the front, the client knows whether your quoted price is within the ballpark. Or whether, by investing in you, even though you may be a high bidder, the increased benefits of working with you are worth it.

In the end, it brings down to what the client needs to know in order to make a decision in your favor. My advice is to make it as easy as possible for them to choose you, by keeping your sales proposal simple and the presentation effective.