A sales proposal is a bit of a misnomer really. It should be called a buy proposal. ‘Here’s how, what, when and why we propose you buy from us.’

I supposed it’s called a sales proposal because most sales proposals start selling from the first line. If you’re not filling in a tender document and are therefore constrained by the order and flow of the information you present, you have 100% control over this document. Sales proposals don’t start with you. They start with your customer.

Next time you write a sales proposal, try this approach:

– First, what is your customer looking to accomplish? What are their goals? They’re not looking to buy what you have, they’re looking for the benefits and achievements that result from buying what you have

– Second, if relevant, what is stopping them from getting to where they want to be? Especially for larger investments, there is usually something that’s stopping them from achieving their goals, otherwise they wouldn’t be spending money with you. There is also an opportunity cost of not fixing the problem if they decide to do nothing

– Third, how have you helped companies with this problem before? Relevant experience in your prospect’s field is very important. They don’t want you learning the job on their time and with their assets

– Fourth, how will what you have uniquely help them achieve their goals? What makes your offering better than the competition, including ‘internal’ or ‘do nothing’ options?

– Fifth, what results will they get from investing in you? You need to demonstrate the planned for value if at all possible

– Sixth, what will this cost them? Simple, clear, unambiguous is the way to go

– Seventh, your call to action. What do you want them to do next? Call you? Have a meeting? Seek further clarification? Place the order? Lead them down the next natural step towards buying from you

The Sales Proposal: here’s what we propose you do, not here’s what we propose we do.