6 Tips to Make Your Proposals More Effective

If there was a way to give every proposal you send out a 100% success rate, we would have been replaced by AI a long time ago. 

But the beauty of sales is that there’s always a part of your pipeline that could use some polish to bring your success rates closer to that final goal.

The most important aspect of proposals is that they’re a key effort in convincing your client to say yes. If you fail to give them key information to seal the deal by the time they say no, odds are, you’re not getting another chance. 

People are stubborn, so if you’re looking to boost your chances of getting that hole-in-one with your prospect, here are some tips to help you follow through.

1. Focus on solutions, not deliverables.

Your prospects don’t care if your software comes with voice recognition or that your product comes in a certain color (unless it’s yellow, in which case, get it away from me immediately). They need to know what problems it solves for them, and why they should pay you for the opportunity to use it.

If your business sells cybersecurity software, don’t even think about telling them about “how many insurmountable firewalls it employs to keep out the viruses.” Instead, let them know that they’ll never have to worry about their classified company data getting into the wrong hands.

When they can picture the benefits that your product or service provides, it becomes much more realistic for them to shell out their resources to make it a reality.

2. Personalize your template for each client.

While it can seem easy to “copy+paste” your all-star proposal template to your prospect and call it a day, I hope you know a readily available combat medic because you might as well be shooting yourself in the foot.

While proposal templates save you time, the vague language you’ll need to use is a major disservice to both you and your client. Your client is unique, just like everybody else, so if you’re trying to knock a sale out of the park, it’s important to use language that relates to them in every way possible.

You could make connections to their pain points, or maybe slip in some jargon that they use on a daily basis. Just make sure you find ways to form connections that make their time worthwhile.

3. Keep it short and simple. 

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: as much as we want to believe that our clients are listening to every detail of our proposals, they have other places they need to be. So if you have fluff in your proposal or beat around the bush too much, your client is either going to doze off or cut the meeting short. 

I’m not saying you should speak in a monotonous tone and feed them information like some sort of cyborg. But when you’re selling a product or service, you need to make sure that every word you put in your proposal is in service of making your client say yes.

4. Schedule a call to walk your client through it. 

How many times have you opened an email, noticed a wall of text, and skimmed through in hopes of finding the info that’s important to you? If you’re like me, let’s just say you shouldn’t respond to my question in an email.

Prospects have a tendency to scroll through email proposals, find the price at the bottom and immediately lose interest. So schedule a call to give them the info they need in a conversation.

You can answer any questions they have in real-time, and more importantly, you can help them visualize how they’d benefit from your product or service.

5. Give them options to choose from. 

When you only give clients one option during a proposal, it can seem like the decision is out of their hands. They imagine it as a one-size-fits-all kind of deal, which turns your proposal into an all-or-nothing kind of sale.

So instead of forcing them to make one decision, try giving them three options or tiers to choose from. This gives them an option to choose from a good/better/best, meaning you could possibly benefit from a more expensive sale. 

But more importantly, since they have available options all in one place, it discourages them from looking into your competition because you are your competition.

6. Make it easy for them to say yes. 

When it comes to sales, the more time a client has to process a decision, the more likely they are to say no. So use the heat of the moment to your advantage to drive home the sale.

I’m not telling you to pressure them into a deal that they aren’t willing to make, but they’re more likely to make an informed decision the moment you finish your pitch. All of the information is fresh in their mind, and it can be hard to forget key details that make the choice simple. 

So write up a contract or online document that only takes a single signature to seal the deal. Even if you need a more comprehensive contract down the road, they’re already on board and willing to go through with the sale.

Basically, help them visualize why they need it.

The perfect proposal accomplishes three goals: you help your client see your deliverable’s value, you build a connection with them for customer success in the future, and you avoid the Comic Sans font entirely.

My hatred for Comic Sans aside, if your client can’t understand why your deliverable is useful to them by the end of your proposal, they’ll have no reason to accept your offer. 

Put every ounce of effort you have towards giving them a clear and concise pitch that makes “saying yes” the easiest decision they’ve ever made.