How to present your business proposal – so you get a yes straight away!
If you’ve ever hit send on a proposal only to be ghosted, you’ll know how frustrating it can be when the ball is sitting in their court.
Proposals can be time-consuming to create, and while they are sometimes necessary, you want to guarantee that when you do send a proposal, you get an answer from your prospect!
So wouldn’t it be nice if you could have an (almost) fail-safe process that helped you present your proposal in a way that gets you a response from your prospect?
And wouldn’t it be even nicer if this method also increased your overall chances of getting the sale?
Hell, yeah, it would! And in this blog post, we’re going to tell you how to do exactly that.
First, do you actually NEED a business proposal?
Plenty of businesses don’t use proposals!
We don’t use business proposals to sell our 1:1 Rebels Accelerator programme. Just because it’s a high ticket doesn’t mean you automatically need a proposal!
Let’s not add more hoops to jump through, shall we?
So, what do we do instead?
We create a hell of a lot of content, and then we get on sales calls with potential customers (these people are already pretty familiar with us from content).
Ultimately, there’s no point offering up a proposal when you could get the sale right there on the sales call. You’re just adding an unnecessary step to the process.
So the first question to ask yourself is, do you need a proposal?
Whether or not you actually need a business proposal will come down to what type of product or service you offer.
How to identify if you need a proposal?
Don’t worry – we aren’t 100% anti-proposal. In fact, it’s why we deliver this exact advice to our Rebels members, where sending proposals is a necessary part of their sales process.
Our Rebels have gotten pretty good at creating and closing proposals!
And a lot of this comes from the work they put in before the actual proposal. You should only send proposals to people who know they want to work with you.
The proposal is your chance to really demonstrate how you work, and the value that you can bring to the organisation or project.
But how do you know if you need one or not?
These are some of the things that you should consider:
- The industry you are selling to
- If it’s a bespoke offer or standardised offer
- If you need to really outline what someone will get
- If it’s super, duper high-ticket
- You can’t speak to the decision maker
Generally speaking, if the decision-making process has a team or if the proposal is bespoke and has numerous options, then a proposal is needed. We would challenge the latter, though! Standardised packages are much easier to sell, and allow easier outsourcing opportunities. If you’re making bespoke packages for every client, that can be time-consuming!
It’s worth noting that whether or not you are using a proposal, you have to document what you deliver and what your customers should expect. Whether that’s in the form of a proposal or simply a web page, or even an email. This makes sure that both sides are super clear on what they’re offering/getting!
Do you need a sales call before you send the proposal?
It may seem counter-intuitive as you’re spending more time with someone, but you can’t just jump and send a proposal to everyone who emails you.
In fact, a proposal is something we only ever recommend you send if you know that the prospect wants to work with you, and has the means to work with you.
We speak to people all the time who send proposals willy-nilly to everyone who asks, only to find out they were spending hours on a proposal, for a prospect that wasn’t fully committed.
We recommend you use sales calls as an opportunity for you and the potential customer to suss each other out, and see if you’d be a good fit. It’s all part of the qualification stage.
And it makes sense as creating proposals is time-consuming!
Plus, the way to create a killer proposal that hits the nail on the head and closes the deal is by knowing as much as possible about your prospect.
By jumping on a quick sales call, you can really get to know the prospect and ensure the proposal is tailor-made to them (which is much more likely to close than a generic one).
So, although it’s more time upfront, it allows you to create a much stronger proposal that is more likely to get an enthusiastic yes from your prospect.
What should you include in a proposal?
Part of the reason a proposal might be necessary is that it gives your potential client a solid understanding of what they are actually going to get from working with you.
Yes, a contract with legalise this, but a proposal gives you both accountability for what is expected, how it will solve your pain points and much more.
Your proposal should include:
1. Introduction: a space for a little round-up on what you’ve discussed on the call, and what the proposal is going to cover.
2. Problems your client is facing: this is your chance to show that you really understand the problems they are experiencing, and how that is impacting their lives. It’s your opportunity to tap into and push on the pain points that they are experiencing.
3. Your proposed solution to those problems: this is where you show what product/services you would implement to solve the problems they are facing. It’s also your opportunity to demonstrate that you have experience solving these problems.
4. The process of working with you: it’s a good idea to outline what will happen from the moment they decide to work with you, so they know what to expect.
5. Testimonials: show the results that previous customers have had from working with you. Ideally, these testimonials will be in video format, but anything to show the success of people who have worked with you in the past.
6. Expected results: this can tie into testimonials, but it’s your chance to show expected results as well as actual results from previous customers. Let them imagine what their life/business could look like if they worked with you.
7. Cost/budget: everyone needs to know how much things are going to cost, so let them know what is the upfront ongoing investment going to look like.
8. A breakdown page: this clearly and concisely displays all options and investment levels on one page so prospects can compare which is the best option for them.
9. Next steps: if they want to go ahead, what should they do next?
10. Terms: this is the space to put the legal terms and conditions, and anything that they need to know before working with you.
How do you get someone to say an instant yes!?
You’ve had the sales call. You’ve spent hours collating a perfectly customised business proposal that you know is going to knock their socks off.
You hit send on the email and follow that up three days later by a vaguely passive email that goes like: ‘hope you received the proposal okay, let me know if you have any questions!’
We’ve all been there. Getting ghosted by clients is even less fun than getting ghosted on Tinder.
Hitting send and hoping for the best is not a sales strategy (p.s. remind us to get this on a t-shirt for the next ATOMICON)
So, what should you do instead?
Organise a call with all the decision-makers and present the proposal to them (don’t send it in advance). Not only do you get immediate feedback (do they love it or hate it), but they get the opportunity to ask any follow-up questions.
And, most importantly, close the sale…
But how do you do this?
What to do on the proposal presentation call
Let’s face it …any type of sales call is nerve-wracking, especially for your first few.
But the only way to get better is to practice. We’re here to give you an outline, so the first isn’t so nail-bitingly terrifying.
The main point we have is to treat the proposal run-through like a conversation. It’s not about presenting to them and boring them to tears – it’s about talking through the problems they’ve expressed and how your proposal will fix them.
Throughout, give them opportunities to ask questions, and tackle objections.
After you’ve run through, don’t just say: “Okay, thanks for listening, bye”
Ask the closing question: ‘so which option sounds best to you’.
This way, you’re talking about options, rather than whether they like anything at all. Psychologically speaking, it leads people towards closing rather than giving them the option to walk away without making a decision.
And if they need more time to make a decision, that’s okay. They might not want to make a decision right there. But again, you don’t want to be left hanging!
So say something like…
“…OK, that’s cool, tell you what, I’ll send you over an email summary and Proposal of the options, and what we’ve talked about, and then next week, say Wednesday, we can go through it together, and I can answer any questions you have, it’s just easier than going back and forth on email. How’s Wednesday or Thursday 2pm?”
The goal is not to leave it hanging, where you’re just waiting to hear back from them. Having a clear next step decided, i.e. the follow-up call keeps the momentum going, and makes it less likely you get ghosted.
What business proposal software would you recommend?
You can create a from-scratch proposal every time – but let’s face it – you don’t have time for that.
Luckily there are multiple software options that allow you to create branded templates that can be edited – helping you save time and look super professional.
And for those on a budget, check out our PDF proposal template – a fully customisable template for small business owners that will help you put together a proposal in no time!
Upping your proposal game!
However, if you want to up your proposal game, then we strongly recommend you check out Better Proposals!
Better Proposals are a dedicated proposal software, trusted by over 10,000 freelancers and small businesses!
It includes some pretty amazing features including:
- Allowing your prospect to sign your proposal
- Alerts when someone has opened your proposal, what pages they’ve read and what they’ve spent the most time looking at!
- Beautiful designs – no need to mess about with Canva!
- Tons of templates for so many different industries so you can set up your proposal in no-time
We’ve got a proposal for you…
So…while proposals might not be necessary all the time, they will be sometimes. And, sending a proposal and hoping for the best is not a strategy.
Getting to know your prospect, and tailoring a proposal to their specific needs will increase your chances of getting an enthusiastic yes – which is what we all want.
If you need help with your proposals (or growing your business in other ways), then you might want to check out our 1:1 Rebels Accelerator programme, where we help small businesses scale, get more sales, and become hugely profitable!