How to write an attractive business proposal

After several meetings, the time has come to present your business proposal to the client. It is now when you have to write down the offer.

What documentation must include? What is the proper extension? Do I have to deliver it immediately or is it better to wait a reasonable time? These are questions that every entrepreneur asks himself when preparing a commercial proposal. Is there an ideal model?

Obviously not. For one proposal to succeed, another must fail. What we do offer are guidelines that will make yours more attractive and not end up in the trash.

To address this issue we have consulted with experts who have given us a series of very useful tips. Keep reading!

FORMAL ISSUES

All commercial proposals must follow the AIDA technique, which is the paradigm of persuasion in written texts: attention, interest, development and action. That is, the first thing is to capture their attention, then awaken their interest, to enter into the development of the idea or service and finally move on to action, it is time for the budget and the deadlines for execution.

In addition to the structure of the document, it is necessary to take into account a series of formal questions:

Just as there is no ideal proposal, there is also no perfect extension. Each service requires a different development. Find the middle point. A proposal written in two pages is poor and one that has needed 100, cumbersome, in addition to transmitting the message of justifying an exorbitant price. Ideally, it should occupy about 10 or 15 pages in Word or about 20-30 Power Point screens, and never exceed 50 pages and 80 screens.

The more extension it has, the more advisable it is to make an index with the contents. And if it reaches the maximum dimensions indicated above, it includes an executive summary stating the objective of the proposal, the services to be provided, the execution period and the financial amount.

When including technical documentation of the product or material to be used, the CVs of the professionals participating in the project, incorporate them as an annex. And do the same with the references.

DRAFTING

Use the rules of clarity in written communication: always positive language, simple constructions (subject + verb + predicate), especially in main ideas, short paragraphs, sentences of no more than 15 words and of simple structure and persuasive words (Achievement, gain, benefit …) Likewise, if you have to use technical language, try to do it in the clearest and most understandable way, and if possible with footnotes explaining the most technical words.

It is important to avoid all those words that have negative connotations, such as error, danger, failure, repair … On the other hand, it is advisable to leave the queen offer for last place and play with the shortage argument to urge the purchase or hiring.

PRESENTATION

It can be in Word or in Power Point, the important thing is that it allows a funnel reading (main title, inset, intermediate titles). If it is extensive, introduce each part with a short summary. Remember that it must be attractive and structured to allow quick reading. Avoid being visually heavy. The best way is to include graphics that are easy to understand. And it must be very simple because the impression that is reflected in the subconscious of the reader is that a simple-looking offer is easy to implement.

It is also wise to follow the company’s internal procedures – take a look at its style guide and add corporate touches.

DEADLINES AND MODE OF DELIVERY

When should I submit my proposal? Should I do it right away or wait long? At this point, we should be guided by the sense of urgency that is what tells us that, even if we do not have a deadline, we must go as quickly as possible. It is true that in the reader’s unconscious there are two extremes: if you take too long, you can give the impression of being very busy, but also of disinterest, and if you take too little, you offer the image of anxiety or unemployment. In the latter case, experts advise a delay of less than 15 days. Although not to be mistaken, the most appropriate thing is to agree with the client on a date and meet it.

And what happens next? Once you have submitted the proposal, the ball is on the customer’s roof. You have to give it a reasonable time to weigh it, but you shouldn’t neglect it. It has to know that you are there, there must be constant monitoring without falling into excess. If you have not arranged a meeting in person, call him two or three days after the offer is sent to make sure you have received it, and try to close a new call. If you don’t succeed, try again a week. Questions like “are there any questions left? or how can we help? ” they help to resume a stagnant negotiation.

AWAKE THE INTEREST

The following section should arouse the interest of your interlocutor, making the result and the consequences visible to him. It is about showing you an x-ray of the current situation and a future one, if it adopts the solution that you propose.

OFFER DESCRIPTION

It is the heart of the proposal. We must explain in detail the products and services proposed and for what reasons we suggest them without forgetting that the success of our work will depend on the professionalism of our arguments. The section consists of two parts:

Building arguments: People buy when they are convinced that there are benefits for them. We must ensure that all the explanations and details conclude with a statement of the advantages it has for our client.

Customize the benefit: Never attack with a string of features or technical specifications. It must be made known why the same characteristic and the same advantage does not bring the same benefit to two different customers. 

ECONOMIC CONDITIONS

This section must include the breakdown of the different items and the total amount, as well as the form of payment (terms, payment instruments and other conditions that need to be outlined). Some rules are:

  • When evaluating work, you must avoid doing it thinking of a price / hour or cost, without taking into account all the accumulated know-how.
  • There are sectors in which there are more or less fixed rates that can be consulted in professional colleges, in chambers of commerce or in associations, but in many others it is the market that determines them. To get to know them, try benchmarking with your competitors or with other companies in the sector. You can also ask customers and interested parties.
  • It is important to get it right when it comes to properly deploying the troops that you will need for the project. If you put more hours or more people than necessary, you convey the feeling of little efficiency, and on the contrary you can incur what is called ‘reckless drop’ and agree to a much lower price.
  •  It is always interesting to find the right means, although it is preferable to aim high, because if the offer interests them, you can always negotiate.
  • And one last point in economic matters: when you present various prices, experts use the technique of “progressive customer relief”: it starts with the most expensive rate and then points out the rest of the concepts in decreasing order.

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