Any successful deal needs a sales proposal whether you like it or not. A successful sales proposal can make a difference in losing or winning a sale, gaining a new client or establishing long-term relationships with prospective clients. Keep in mind: a sales proposal lets you pitch a product or service to land new or repeat business – an ideal way of closing deals.
To help you hit a grand slam with your next proposal, we’ve put together our best tips and tricks to writing a killer sales proposal. This post will also teach you how to write a good sales pitch, the right sales proposal format, and you’ll find some winning proposal templates that will help you to succeed in writing proposals.
What is a sales proposal?
A sales proposal is a written document where a seller offers goods or services to prospective buyers. In this offer, sellers demonstrate how they can serve the needs of buyers by showing the key benefits of their product/services.
How do I write a sales proposal?
If your goal is to create a sales proposal that will help you to close more deals, you’ll want to follow these simple tips.
Researching the customer
Before you begin writing a sales proposal, you need to know everything about your customer. If your proposal is in response to a request for proposal (RFP), you may have been provided with some background information. If not, you might have to conduct some additional market research and customer discovery to draft a sales proposal that fits your prospect’s needs.
Proposals may include any or all of the following:
- Customer research
- Market/competitor research
- Feasibility research
- Data gathering
- Fact checking
The more homework you put in, the easier the actual writing will be. You’ll want to demonstrate to your recipient that you know their unique and specific problems, to increase the likelihood of acceptance by your prospect or client.
The parts of a sales proposal
Your proposal should adhere to the common format that your prospective clients would expect to see. Also, the sales proposal is a familiar path — and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. But you should put your unique spin on it.
A typical proposal will follow this format:
- About us
- Benefits to a customer (“what our product can do for you…”)
- Product sales contract
- Product purchased
- No warranty
Outlining the proposal
The best way to write a winning business proposal is to start with an outline.
Your final proposal will need to be comprehensive and free from mistakes in both logic and grammar. An outline lets you organize without the excessive pressure of perfection. But that doesn’t mean you should cut corners on this step.
The better the outline, the more effective your final proposal will be.
Writing the sales proposal
When writing your proposal, keep a few things in mind:
- What is my customer’s problem?
- How can I offer a solution?
- How do I appeal to the interest of decision-makers?
- What differentiates my offer from my competitors?
- Have I asked the customer to take a clear action on the proposal?
The last part is crucial. Your sales proposal ultimately asks your customer to make a purchasing decision by way of a call to action (CTA). You need to make this infinitely clear in the body of the proposal. There should be no question in your prospect’s mind as to what exactly the sales proposal is asking him or her to do.
Above all else, focus on “them” — your customers. The more you speak to their unique needs and pains, the more you will increase your chances of success.
Keeping it simple
There is no need to get overly fancy with your sales proposals. Follow the golden rule of KISS or also known as “keep it simple stupid”. Ways to keep it simple are:
- Front-load your content (start with a summary before expanding)
- Support each statement with benefits, statistics, and facts
- Introduce each bulleted or numbered list with a relevant sentence
- Keep it actionable
- Be consistent throughout the proposal
- Check your grammar — cut the “college words” and strive for maximum readability
- Proofread, proofread, proofread — make sure your final proposal is perfect, grammar-wise
Using sales proposal templates
A good way to accelerate the sales processes is to use ready-made templates with the best practices we’ve mentioned previously. Templates are already filled with crucial and critical information.
Let’s review some sales template examples.
Sales proposal template
This should be your primary choice when you need a sales proposal. This sales proposal template includes basic sections like a cover letter, an executive summary, client testimonials, the scope of work that includes goals and challenges with a detailed description of, pricing, agreements, payments, warranties, and more.
Sales contract template
These kinds of documents tend to be pretty large. A sales contract template is an offer between sellers and buyers with specified legal terms.
Sales invoice template
This sales invoice template is designed for the sale of goods, not services, and without tax. It includes information about the invoicing company, payment terms, pricing tables, remittance, shipping details. This template is perfect for small business owners.
Sales quote template
This one is designed for items or goods that should be delivered to a customer. The sales quote template is a simple layout with typical information about the company, customer, items, quantities, and prices.
Sales agreement template
The Business or sales agreement template is a document entered into between sellers and buyers of a specific product or service. The template includes terms and conditions, description of the business, agreement to sell, payment details, and other crucial conditions.
How to write a good sales pitch
Writing a sales pitch is very top of mind to a majority of sales managers as this is likely the only chance to close a deal. Therefore, it is critical to not only be aware of best practices in writing a good sales pitch but also implement them in your sales process.
There are some proven ways to stand out when you are preparing your pitch. For example, check out how to create a sales pitch by Danny Wong. In the article, he shares three tips to convert more paying customers.
Or try another approach — how to write a sales report by Anna Wickham. According to Anna, reports play a crucial role in establishing great relations with clients.
Are you ready to win the deal with your next proposal?
There’s no mysterious secret involved in the process of proposal writing. Follow these simple tips and you’ll overcome any obstacle standing between you and writing that perfect sales proposal.
What has been the biggest challenge for you when writing sales proposals? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Originally published May 12, 2014, updated August 17, 2018