Growth, especially for small business owners, is about landing new clients faster and more efficiently. This is why sales and marketing teams are always focused on closing new deals, and they will tell you that having an impressive sales proposal is half the battle won.

Once you have good leads, the next important step is to share a sales proposal that you have crafted to convince your clients why they should choose you. A sales proposal is a written document to help introduce prospective clients to your services/ solutions and educate them more about how you can serve their requirements. The idea is to highlight your strengths, and build a narrative that will engage your audience. A great sales proposal is fundamental to closing more deals and earning more business.

Make sure that your proposal outlines what you can do for a client, how you will do it, and what you require from them. Also clearly define their complete costs.

Here are the 10 best tips to create an effective sales proposal for your business:

1. Know your customer

As any sales guru will tell you, understanding your customer is the first step to making a sale. You will need to go beyond what they say their requirement is, and try to develop a deeper understanding of who they are, what they want vs. need, what their preferences or choices are, etc.

Start with researching into their business, their industry, competitors, etc. You should be aware of their recent campaigns, news articles, and even their challenges. This will help you build trust with your prospects that you understand that they need to succeed. Ask relevant questions that will help you gain insights into successfully closing the deal, and use them in the proposal.

2. Highlight your full potential

Your sales proposal does not have to go into the details of each product/ service that you deliver, but it is important to highlight all your capabilities. Use this as an opportunity to educate your potential customers about your organization, and how your products/ services can help them solve their business problems. Include testimonials from customers who can showcase your best achievements, so your audience can visualize the results you can help them achieve.

3. Focus on results

Your potential customer would have received multiple proposals that claim to solve their business problems. The way to stand out is to emphasize how you can help them. Focus on the details of the solution, and the step-wise map to achieving it efficiently. As mentioned in the previous points, you would have understood what the prospect is looking for exactly. Now is the time to leverage those insights into crafting the right strategy for their organization.

4. Simple, short, and crisp

There is no point in going into unnecessary details into how great your product or service is. An effective sales proposal has to be only as long as it needs to be, and as simple as possible. Your audience is about to make a decision, and it is your job to make it as simple as possible to take that decision in your favor. Keep the language engaging and simple – visualize how the decision-maker would perceive your sales proposal and create accordingly.

5. Give them choices

Buyers always prefer a variety of options to choose from, so make sure that your sales proposal includes at least three of them. Giving them choices also helps you have a conversation with them rather than them deciding that your particular solution may not be the solution for their requirements. By acting as your own competition, you are reducing the possibilities of them looking for solutions elsewhere.

6. Keep it factual

Claiming to solve a problem is very different from actually solving a problem. Most sales proposals make the mistake of highlighting their deliverables. Your potential buyer is not interested in your deliverables, but in the actual results and outcomes for his organization. So any claim you make in the sales proposal has to be backed up by tangible facts that strengthen your presentation. Include testimonials and case studies that highlight your ability to achieve results consistently.

7. Don’t overpromise

Small business owners are driven by passion, and in their hunger for great clients, make promises they may not be able to keep. You have to understand that when you make a claim to your audience, they expect you to fulfill it completely. Using false claims to land an account and not deliver accordingly will have serious consequences for your reputation. The key to happy customers is to under-promise and over-deliver, never the other way around.

8. Address the decision-makers

Without identifying the right decision-makers, creating a sales proposal may turn out to be completely futile. All the steps you take in creating the proposal would be in response to the audience you were targeting, but if the decision-maker is somebody else, your proposal will probably miss its mark.

9. Customize your sales proposal

Sales proposals are key to establishing a good impression on your potential customers. A generic presentation about your product/ service is a lost opportunity to engage your audience effectively. You don’t have to rewrite every line for your sales proposal, but do include content that is relevant to the buyer’s decision-making process.

10. Follow-up!

According to research from Vorsight, there is a diminishing marginal return for emailing prospects you have been pursuing for more than 30 days. Follow-up with the lead while they are still warm. This is also an opportunity to see if they have any more queries you can help them with, and customize your pitch accordingly. 

Mihir Shah is CEO and Founder of Yatharth Marketing Solution, the group specialized in offering personalized sales training programs to corporates worldwide. He is able to draw several years of experience imparting to management, sales, and corporate training serving wide industries. Mihir has assisted companies to grow incomes and enhance customer satisfaction score as well as assisting managers, leaders, and directors enhance the performance of their team with training.