Winning business proposals are one of the most important ways to attract new customers. It's true that it can be difficult to come up with a winning proposal, especially when you're competing against other companies for the same account.
However, if you know what NOT to do, then it'll be easier to present a strong proposal that will convince your customer that you're the best choice. Don't make these seven common mistakes when writing a proposal and your chances of getting the job will increase exponentially!
Mistake #1: Your proposal is too long
Just because your proposal is long, doesn't mean it's better. In fact, it might be the opposite.
If you're struggling with word count, then it's time to take a step back and consider whether or not your proposal will actually be read if it's too long.
Longer proposals are often seen as more professional by clients, but if they aren't being read, what good are they?
You should make sure that every word counts in your proposal. If you can't say something succinctly or fit it into one page, then don't say it at all! Your customer doesn't have time for lengthy proposals that ramble on without any substance.
Mistake #2: You don't address your audience's needs
Think about your customer's needs and how they will be affected by your proposal.
If you're proposing a business strategy, think about what the client is looking for with the strategy and how it will affect their business and bottom line. If you're proposing a product or service, think about what your customer needs and how the product or service will satisfy those needs.
A successful proposal doesn't just talk about what you can do; it also talks about how your solution is going to benefit them. It goes beyond solving a pain point; your solution is going to make them feel like they've won the lottery!
So, make sure that when writing a proposal, you clearly outline how it will help solve their problems and improve their bottom line. Your proposal has to show that you understand exactly what they need—and not just what you want them to buy from you!
Mistake #3: You don't provide an ROI
Making an ROI is one of the most important parts of any business proposal. Once you know what your customer needs, it's time to show them how investing in your product or service meets those needs.
You should be able to answer questions like "How will this help my business?" and "What are the costs associated with my product or service?" These answers will give your potential customer a better understanding of what they're getting into by choosing you.
Answering these questions will not only help your customer make a decision, but it can also reduce their risk!
Mistake #4: You don't take into account what the customer wants
A proposal is a sales pitch: You're selling your products and services. So, the customer is your primary focus.
If you want to land the account, then you need to understand what they want and how your business can provide it. This doesn't mean that you have to give them everything they want, but at least explore what options are available in terms of price, timeline, and other expectations.
Your proposal will be much stronger if you can address any questions or concerns the client may have before they ask for them. The key is to make sure that your customer will benefit from choosing you rather than someone else.
Mistake #5: You're asking for payment upfront
The fifth mistake is that you're asking for payment upfront.
The majority of proposals demand payment upfront, which can come across as insecure and unprofessional. If you're not the only bidder on the account, then it could make you seem like a less desirable choice because your customer will have to pay more money upfront.
Additionally, asking for payment upfront can make the customer feel like they're investing their time and effort into something with little payoff. So if they decide not to work with you, after all, they still lose their investment.
It's important to remember that it's not your customer's responsibility to ensure that you earn enough profit on the account; it's your responsibility as the writer. Therefore, don't ask for payment upfront—you should be focused on proving that your company is worth it!
Mistake #6: Your proposal is poorly written and unprofessional
Poorly written proposals are one of the most common mistakes companies make when writing a proposal. If your customer can't understand what you're trying to say, then you won't get the account. It's important to remember that you're competing against other companies for the same account. If they don't believe that your company is committed to providing them with great service, then they'll choose someone else.
Your goal should always be to provide your customer with a high-quality proposal that makes it clear why you're qualified and how you can succeed in their project. To do this, it's important to write in such a way that's easy for others to understand and has no typos or grammar errors.
While poor grammar and spelling do not necessarily mean that your proposal is unprofessional, it does create a bad impression of your company on some level. Make sure your proposal is well-written and free of typos so you can appeal to your customer on all levels!
Mistake #7: You haven't thought of what you'll do after the sale
It's very important to think about what you want to do after you've won the contract even if it's just for a few minutes.
What are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish? What will success look like?
If you don't know the answers to these questions, then how do you expect your customer to be confident in your ability to meet their needs?
You should spend some time thinking about these questions before you write your proposal and it'll be much easier when you're preparing for the sales call.
How to write a winning proposal
Now that you know the 7 Mistakes, Your next step is to learn how to write a winning proposal.
If you're in business, you know that winning proposals is key to landing new clients and growing your company. But writing proposals can be challenging – it's hard to know what to include and how to make your proposal stand out. Below, we'll outline the steps you need to take to write a winning proposal that will help you win new business. We'll also provide some tips on how to make your proposal stand out from the competition. Let's get started!
Make a great first impression
Your proposal needs to capture your customer's attention from the beginning. This means that it should be well-written, easy to understand, and free of errors.
Your first paragraph should be concise and compelling. It should tell the reader what you're proposing, why it's important, and what benefit they'll get from working with you.
The more clear and convincing your proposal is from the beginning, the better chance you have of making a great first impression on your customer.
Develop an outline before writing
It's always a good idea to develop an outline before you start writing your proposal. This will help you get everything out of your head and onto paper (or into the computer if that's how you like to write).
Your outline should include:
- The goal of your proposal
- What problem(s) you're solving for the customer
- How you'll solve those problems
- The benefits of working with your company
- Your proposed solution
- What do you want the customer to do next (after they've read your proposal)
Having an outline will help you stay organized and make sure you don't forget any important details.
Introduce yourself and your company
Your proposal should start by introducing yourself and your company. This allows the customer to get to know you better and makes it easier for them to trust you.
If your customer doesn't know who you are or what you do, then how can they decide if working with you is right for their company?
A few paragraphs about yourself and your company should be enough to give the customer a better sense of who you are.
Outline your qualifications
You need to outline your qualifications and how you can meet the customer's needs. This is where you'll need to convince your customer that you're the right person for the job so take your time and be as persuasive as possible.
Make sure to highlight your experience, expertise, and any awards or accolades you may have.
If you can show the customer that you're qualified and capable of meeting their needs, then they'll be more likely to choose you over the competition.
Sell yourself and mention your value
You need to sell yourself and explain why you're valuable to them. If you can't do this, then why should they choose you? You'll also need to prove that you're worth the investment.
Your proposal should include information on how much you're proposing to charge and what the return on investment (ROI) will be.
If you can show the customer that hiring you is a smart decision, then they'll be more likely to choose you over someone else.
Show them you understand their needs
You need to show your customer that you understand their needs and that you're ready to meet them. This means you'll need to do your research before you write your proposal.
Do some research on the customer's company, their challenges, and what they're working towards.
Also, do some research into what you can offer them that will help solve their problems.
Knowing more about your customer will give you a better idea of how to write your proposal. This is also critical if you want to win over new customers and make them loyal to your brand.
Include testimonials and case studies
If you have any testimonials or case studies from past customers, then now is the time to include them in your proposal. You can put these near the end of the proposal, but don't forget to include them as they'll help enhance your credibility.
If you can show the customer that you're an experienced and qualified provider, then they'll be more likely to choose you.
Make your proposal easy to read
Your proposal should be easy to read and understand. This means using a simple font and spacing out your text so it's easy on the eyes.
It's also important to provide headings and subheadings to break up the text. This will make it easier for the reader to follow along and understand what you're proposing.
Your proposal doesn't have to be perfect or completely free of errors, but it should be as error-free as possible.
Also, try to avoid using complicated language and writing in the third person. Keep it simple and straightforward to put your customers at ease.
Write a well-organized proposal
Your proposal should be well-organized and easy to read. This means it should be easy to follow and have a clear structure.
It should also follow a logical order and not be all over the place. Provide your proposal in an easy-to-follow format so that it's easy for the customer to understand what you're proposing and why it's beneficial for them.
Finish with a strong conclusion
Your proposal should finish with a strong conclusion that summarizes your argument and leaves the customer with no doubt that you're the best choice for them.
This section should be short and to the point, but you can include additional information if it will help support your argument.
Make sure that this is a strong finish so that the customer is left in no doubt about how much you understand their needs and your value to them.
Include a strong call-to-action
You need to make sure that your call to action is clear and direct. This means using language that will tell the customer exactly what you want them to do next.
For example, if you're proposing a new product or service then you'll need to explain how they can get started.
If they don't know what to do next, then they'll be less likely to take any action at all.
Make it easy for them to take the next step and make sure your call to action is clear and visible.
Now that you know how to write a proposal that will wow your customers, it's time to put your skills to work! Follow these tips and you'll be able to create proposals that will have your customers eager to work with you.
Writing a proposal is hard work, but it doesn't have to be.
As long as you follow these tips and use your skills to create proposals that will wow your customers, then you'll be on the path to success!
Thanks for reading this article on how to write a proposal. I hope you found some interesting information here.