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The MEAT Inside A Winning Proposal
"Yep!" Preparing proposals is enough to make most people cringe. They take too long to prepare. They're absolutely boring to write and a real pain in the neck. Sound familiar?
Having said all that, proposals have an enormous bearing on whether or not someone is going to buy from you, so it makes sense to ensure that your proposal sells. The only problem with doing that is "normally" to create a really "flash" proposal takes time and that's something that most people simply don't have to spare.
If you've tried proposal templates before in an effort to save time, you'll know that unless it easily customisable, the document comes out looking like an unpersonalised template which can leave a bad taste in your prospects' mouths.
Inside this article I'll show you how to create a winning proposal that can have a dramatic effect on your conversion rates and then how to create a "template" so it looks as if you've written it from scratch for each individual prospect.
To achieve the most powerful results, the message needs to look like it's personalised to that particular business YET if you were to do that, there's a good chance you'd spend all your time writing proposals.
So, what's the answer?
Your proposal master document will be made up of three types of information:
1. 100% templated material: You can develop a set structure for your proposal with set sections and some of these sections can be re-used verbatim time and time again eg. case studies.
2. Then there are other sections which, utilising macros built into your word-processing program, you can select from depending on the type of client. Depending on your macro programming skills you can actually have multiple-choice tick-boxes that you check and the copy that relates to those tick boxes is then automatically inserted into your document.
3. Totally personalised content. This applies to specific figures, strategies and ideas that you may include at the beginning or the end of the document to add to the sales appeal.
Creating the "meat"
As with a verbal sales presentation, your written sales presentation should have a beginning, a middle and an end.
The beginning addresses the prospect's situation, thanks them for the opportunity and identifies with their specific needs.
The middle includes all the selling information about your product/service and company and ...
The end includes the "move forward" strategy including an action plan and "the next step".
It should also address the 6 questions of selling:
Who, What, When, Why, Where and How
.. or more specifically:
What products and services do you sell?
Who is your target market?
Why do they need your product and your company?
How can you prove that your product or service fulfil their needs?
When do they need to make a decision?
Where can they get it? What's the next step?
When creating your "template" document, answer each of these questions in detail.
1. The products and services you sell
List each product. The easiest way to do that is to (in the first instance) create a table like the one below and list the following elements against each product or service. List as many as you can think of.
Also list things like:
How does it compare with competing products
If selling services, what process do you go through to ensure the client receives results?
Once you've done that, then turn this information into sentences within block of text that talk about the product, and list the various benefits in order of importance.
This information can either be used in whole or you can create programmable functions that enable you to select the benefits that are most important to a particular client. (If you're working with MS Word, we can help you do that in an effective manner.)
Create a table with the following headings:
What do they receive for their money
2. Who is your target market?
Some businesses sell the one product to different target markets with different sets of needs. Others sell a range of products with one target market for each type of product. Then others still have a broad range of products and services with a variety of target markets buying a variety of their products.
By articulating which target markets you sell various products and services to, you can then match various benefits of your products to best suit the unique needs of your various buyers.
For instance, let's say you're a business forms printer and you provide an in-house design and film preparation service, short turnaround times, precision quality and a great price. Some types of clients are more likely to be interested in the precision quality than the price and viceversa.
3. Why do they need your product and your company?
What are their buying needs? ....
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About the Author:
Kris Mills of Words that Sell ( http://www.wordsthatsell.com.au/ ) is a top selling copywriter, trainer and author of numerous how-to guides including Proposals and Tenders (Bids) that Sell. Kris has also produced a FREE ebook entitled "11 Bid Writing Sins and How to Avoid Them". To arrange a FREE copy, visit:http://www.wordsthatsell.com.au/tendersebook.htm
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