Elements of a Good Sales Proposal
There’s no one way to make a sales proposal. In fact, creativity is one of your best tools. Although a sales proposal has to perform several important functions, the delivery can be as varied as your clients.
Consider whether your client will be best reached by a PowerPoint presentation, product demonstration, trip to a plant or facility, video, personal conversation or a well-crafted written proposal. People respond to style, mood and environment. After all, the goal is to persuade your audience, and that means finding an approach that resonates.
Of course, while your delivery method affects how people receive your message – your content still has to be solid. Make sure to include several important elements of a sales proposal.
Define the Problem
Although consumers pay for products and services that are fun or enhance their life quality, businesses pay for solutions. Your product creates some efficiency or in essence, solves a problem. It’s possible your client doesn’t even know what her problem is. For example, if you sell a printer that uses significantly less toner or ink than other models, your product brings down your client’s operating costs. She may not know that she’s paying too much for toner, but she will once you tell her.
In other cases, the problem may be more obvious. A physician may know that a particular medical device isn’t as effective as it could be or that a medication has side effects. Still, make the issue you’re addressing clear and provide any background information that can help your audience better understand it.
Present a Solution
Explain why your product or service solves the problem you outlined. Along the way, go over the key features of what you’re selling. However, no matter how enthusiastic you are about what you have to offer, stay focused on your client. Give her the information she wants.
Demonstrate how your solution has helped other companies. Case studies, examples and references go a long way toward establishing a client’s interest and trust. Understanding how your product or service has helped a competitor or similar business will help your client understand how she too can benefit.
A good salesperson anticipates his client’s objections. List the most common reasons a client will shoot you down and adapt your presentation to address these points. Common issues include price, relationships with competitors, comfortableness with another product, fear of change and lack of brand awareness. Your presentation has to address why your product or service is worth the extra money or taking a chance on a new provider. Explain why the benefits outweigh the risks or costs. In some cases, this may include developing projections to show how a client’s revenues, productivity or profitability will increase as a result of your product.
Everyone wants to know the bottom line. Although you can save this for the latter part of your presentation, make sure to clearly present the cost of your product or service. Be through. If you have tiered pricing or volume discounts, create a table, chart or list. For clients whose needs you understand well, consider developing a customized quote outlining what they are likely to buy so they can see the total cost. Clear, understandable price information builds trust and increases the likelihood of an order or contract.
Especially when trying a new product or vendor, clients want assurances. If you offer a warranty, guarantee, service contract or back your product in any other way – make it clear in your presentation. Describe your customer service, support and exactly what your guarantee entails.
It may seem trivial. You might even assume your client already has your business card. Nonetheless, always put your contact information on the front and at the end of a presentation. That way, if upon further review or discussion, your client decides to move forward – she doesn’t have to search around to wait until later to find your number.
Logos and Branding
Put your company logo and branding in your presentation and any materials you leave behind. Every communication is a marketing opportunity – maximize it.