Writing a business proposal can seem daunting, but it is a vital step for any business looking to win new customers. A company that fails to win new business will not stand the test of time. The competition between companies for new customers has become fierce, and the most important skill a sales-oriented manager or leader can possess is the ability to win new business.
A business proposal can help you gain new customers in the challenging environment of modern business. Research has shown that business proposals are opened by prospects 20 times faster these days, so now is the best time to write one.
A good business proposal can help you to expand your customer base, grow your business, and become a market leader.
Here are four great reasons to write a business proposal.
Reason 1: It Helps Close the Sale
A persuasive business proposal is critical to the success of any business. It can help you close more deals and increase your revenue significantly. If you want your business proposal to convert, promise the client you’ll provide a brilliant solution. An effective business proposal doesn’t just promise to solve the client’s problem, it offers a great solution.
You have to present your company as a leader in your industry and believe in what you can do. If you don’t believe in yourself, the prospect will have a hard time believing in you. Explain to the client exactly what you’re offering and how it will help solve their needs. The proposal should have a clear aim and outline the steps you’ll follow to achieve the desired result.
Many business owners make the mistake of focusing on their products and services instead of the clients’ problems. The quickest way to win a prospect over is to show you care about their needs. Your business proposal should focus on each client’s needs and the solution you’re providing, not the features and benefits of the product. This is what matters to prospects.
Create a strong connection between the customer’s problem and the benefits your product offers.
Reason 2: It Shows You’re Professional
Business owners have a different perspective on the world. They see the bigger picture: markets, future trends, and unfilled niches. Most importantly, they see opportunities. This can sometimes lead to problems, especially when they interact with customers.
The web is filled with faux pas comments made by owners of companies about their products or customers. In 2013, Adidas sent emails to its customers who had completed the Boston Marathon. The subject line was, "Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon." This is a good example of how not to do things.
Being unprofessional can affect a company’s reputation, and as a result, its revenue.
A well-written business proposal shows you’re professional and that you take your business seriously. Many business owners have grown used to a very casual approach in their work lives. This is the wrong approach to take when crafting a business proposal. You must clean your writing. Reserve textspeak, slang, and emoticons for your family and friends—even if you own a modern business.
The business proposal should be clear, concise, and realistic. If you make it too long, or you focus on your product too much, it won’t be read fully or taken seriously. Write with your audience in mind and avoid business jargon if possible to be easily understood. Also, ensure the points you make are logical and backed up by evidence or explanation.
And before you send the proposal, go through it one final time. You should also let the client know you’re available in case they would like to ask any questions.
Reason 3: You Can Target Different Personality Types
The best salespeople possess one vital skill: they can sell to different personality types. When you know the type of person you are selling to, you can tweak your business proposal accordingly. No two people are alike. For example, different decision makers in the client’s company may have different personality types. Those with short attention spans may just read the executive summary while those who love details may read the whole document.
If your business proposal targets these two different personality types, you may close the sale and also establish a relationship with the decision makers. There are four different personality types in sales:
Analytical people focus on the numbers. They make decisions based on facts, so state the key benefits of your product to win them over. Also, back up all the information with facts and statistics.
Amiable people value honesty, so building trust and rapport is crucial. They take time to make decisions and prefer a step-by-step approach. You can convince them you’re the best person for the job by providing testimonials and showing how your product has helped others.
Expressive people don’t like too many details. Sell to them by adding case studies that show your product’s track record of success.
Assertive people are focused on achieving certain goals and objectives. They need a lot of information and can sometimes come off as aggressive. So, get to the point and show what differentiates you from the competition.
Reason 4: It Removes Any Ambiguity or Misunderstanding
Clearly defined terms and conditions (T&Cs) protect your business relationships and your business. T&Cs do three things:
- They outline the length of the contract, the cost, the service being provided, and the service provider
- They ensure each party knows their respective responsibilities and what will happen if one party changes their mind
- They explain the liabilities and other legal points in detail
If you don’t include the terms and conditions, you risk ruining your business relationship with the client if something goes wrong. Write what’s going to happen, when it will happen, how long it will take, what will happen if there are changes, and who’s responsible for what.
Terms and conditions remove any misunderstandings about the execution of the project. Before the work starts, you and the client will be on the same page. They also decrease the risk of conflict over varying expectations.
Be as detailed as possible so you’re protected later on in case the client complains. For example, if the proposal clearly states that the budget is for four versions of a logo design, the client can’t complain later that they expected eight versions. They also can’t refuse to pay you because they feel the project isn’t completed yet.
5 Tips for Writing an Awesome Business Proposal
1. Work on Your Communication Skills
To write a great business proposal, you must be a salesperson and possess good communication skills. Like other business documents, proposals should be well-written, factual, logical, and objective. They must also be persuasive.
2. State Facts Honestly
Your business proposal should present facts honestly to justify the amount being paid by the customer to solve a problem or alter a procedure. Organize it in such a way that you highlight persuasive arguments at the beginning and at the end. These are the two sections of proposals most people remember.
3. Prioritize the Client’s Priorities
Take time to understand the priorities of the targeted firm or individual. Know their business objectives, circumstances, and requirements. For example, if the prospective client is experiencing a period of decline, you can give them a discount. If the company you’re creating the proposal for is well known for its attention to quality, make sure everything is as detailed as possible.
4. Do Your Homework
Creating a good proposal takes a lot of time and effort, so do your homework in order to make one that addresses the client’s needs directly. Meet with key decision makers before you start writing the proposal and ask probing questions to determine exactly what they are looking for. The client may require your service to meet a new business need or to change their current business operations. This invaluable information can help shape the proposal.
5. Proofread the Proposal
People judge you based on your appearance. So, when you’re trying to impress a potential client, don’t leave anything to chance. If your business proposal is filled with typos and grammatical mistakes, the prospect will think you’re careless about your work. No one wants to do business with a careless person.
As much as it’s important, good grammar won't automatically get you the deal. You need to go beyond spelling and grammar to edit the style of your writing.
Three Ways to Improve Your Proposal
Your writing should be:
In the active voice as much as possible: You are the one who will provide these solutions, so write that way! Instead of "You will be provided with four designs," write "We will provide you with four designs."
Jargon-free: Jargon slips into our writing because it’s familiar. But that makes it easy to skip over. If you’re using stale phrases that your reader has seen a hundred times before, they won’t stop to think about what you’re really saying. If you want to say something is your "core competency," try using the simpler "main strength" instead. Now you’re not just competent, but strong—an industry leader.
Readable: This doesn’t just mean that your writing makes sense. It means that your writing style doesn’t get in the way of what you’re trying to say. Unnecessary words, awkward sentence structures, and overly complex language don't make you look impressive—they make your reader stop reading. Look for places where you’ve used meaningless words like "that" unnecessarily. Removing them will tighten up your writing.
Here’s how you can fix these errors with a few clicks in ProWritingAid:
Some of the suggestions can be accepted right away, like the one for the business jargon "core competency." Other suggestions, like the one for omitting "that," require a bit of rewording on your part. This encourages you to think about each word you use and how your sentence structure affects clarity.
Quality and precision are critical skills for entrepreneurs. Communicate clearly, concisely, and flawlessly. The last thing you want is to lose an important client simply because you failed to pay attention to the details. To speed up the editing process, use ProWritingAid. It will significantly improve the way you write business proposals and other business documents.
Use ProWritingAid to Write Outstanding Business Proposals
Love them or hate them, business proposals play an important role in any successful deal. In fact, they can make the difference between closing a sale and losing one. If they are well written and formatted, they can help you gain new clients and establish long-term relationships with them.
Start using ProWritingAid today to write proposals that set you apart from the competition.