Great sales proposals don’t happen overnight. Your sales proposal will be reviewed by all decision-makers and purchasers involved in the process.
On occasion, proposals are just a mere formality and your prospect has already made their decision.
But it’s much more likely that your proposal is what makes all the difference.
More often than not, you’re unsure where your prospect stands. This being the case, you should craft your proposal as if the sale depended on it. A great sales proposal should effectively communicate the solution to your prospect’s problem, while keeping everything focused and to the point.
You could use one of our sales templates as a starting point, but if you want to create one from scratch, here are the five most important sections to include in your sales proposal.
1. Executive Summary
While diving right into the details is habitual at this point, avoid going into deep technical aspects right away. Doing this may be the perfect way to win the hearts of hands-on buyers and stakeholders, but you also want to speak to the high-level decision-makers.
These decision-makers are not interested in the details and want to be able to quickly determine what’s in it for them.
A well-written executive summary is the perfect answer for this. It serves as an introduction to you and offers a high-level overview of your proposal.
An executive summary includes information about your company, clearly identifies the client’s problem and most importantly, positions your product/service as the solution. This is the moment where you need to detail the unique benefits of your offer so that you make a clear case for your prospect to choose you over other competitors.
2. The Proposal
This is where you can take a deep dive into the process of your solution. Get into the details of your offer, the scope of work, and how your solution addresses your prospect’s needs.
This is the perfect place to begin with a problem statement — an acknowledgement of your client’s needs and a description of your solution. Keep the focus on what you can do for your prospect to keep the proposal relevant and tailored to their specific needs.
Here, you can also outline the deliverables and time frame for each milestone of your proposed solution. Your end goal is to ensure that your prospect walks away with a clear understanding of the benefits to their company and the process involved behind the benefits.
There will always be prospects that skip straight ahead to your pricing. Give these potential customers a reason to stick around — make this section as clear and engaging as possible.
Pricing is no doubt one of the most important sections of any sales proposal. As such, it’s crucial that you make this section a winning part of your proposal.
Whilst deciding on a price point for your product/service is a topic that deserves its own article, there are many strategies to make this section engaging and at the end of the day, help you sell more.
For example, you can offer your prospect a choice between multiple tiers of service or even try to upsell by adding optional extras. If you’re using online proposal software such as Qwilr, you can easily add additional options and packages in your pricing section. Prospects can make their selections and see their final cost update in real time.
All of this work would be in vain if you left out an “accept” section. This is where it becomes official: your prospect becomes a customer here. This section generally follows the Terms & Conditions and will include a section where your prospect agrees with the terms outlined in your proposal.
Qwilr makes creating this section incredibly easy. Simply add an accept block to your page and voila! Your proposal is ready for someone to sign.
Tools like Qwilr produce a full audit trail of the entire interaction so that it’s compliant with eSignature laws. This means that it’s just as legally binding as a signed paper contract. Normally, with a PDF or even a paper document, the process of getting signatures can take days or even weeks. Online documents can be viewed at the reader’s convenience and can help you get the signatures you need to close the deal faster.
5. Social Proof
It’s become common for potential customers in any industry to do their due diligence before making a purchasing decision. Who doesn’t look at reviews these days when they’re buying a product or deciding on a place to eat?
Businesses conduct this same kind of research before making a decision — 90% of businesses read online reviews, articles, and forums before they make a purchasing decision.
Social proof has become an important part of the customer journey and decision-making process. As such, it would be a missed opportunity if you don’t include a section that shows off your greatest success stories, past works, and previous achievements.
In this section, you should include your choice of case studies, testimonials, and awards to earn trust capital with your potential customers and prove that you can produce results.
In a case study, you should take the time to outline the problems that your previous clients faced before working with you and highlight the steps you took to help them overcome it. Back this assertion up with statistics and you’re one step closer to earning your prospect’s trust and getting them to sign the proposal.
Also, check out our post on “Why Social Proof Is A Must In Your Proposal” for a more in-depth read on this topic.
Start creating your sales proposal
You now have the five sections you should include in every sales proposal. These core sections will help you clearly articulate that you understand the prospect’s problem and demonstrate how you can provide value to them where they need it the most.