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How to Improve Your Sales Proposals

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© Biz Move - Managing a Small Business
Do you create sales proposals or sales presentations to potential clients? These 10 ten steps will improve your effectiveness.

1. Thank you.

Sounds obvious, huh? You'd be surprised how often the words are overlooked. Be sure to thank the potential client for the opportunity to present to them. Tell them you respect how valuable their time is and that you appreciate them giving some of it to you.

2. Provide an outline.

Prepare an agenda of what you will be presenting. This gives the potential client an idea of what to expect.

3. State your expectation.

Let the potential client know up-front what you expect they will get from the proposal. This lets them know how you want them to respond to the proposal. You may say something like, "after I have completed the presentation, you will be able to see how my services give you much greater value for less money."

4. Sell yourself along with the product or service.

Don't be afraid to toot your own horn. Come prepared with a resume of your qualifications or summary of your experience or accounts you personally manage. People buy from people and because of people - not the services or products sold.

5. Be needs based.

Don't try to propose what the potential client doesn't need. Be realistic and check in with the potential client. Otherwise, don't waste your time or their time with the proposal.

6. State the results.

Often sales people leave this step out and expect the prospect will "get it." State the results that your product or services will deliver. Be careful not to overstate and be honest about the outcomes. Underpromising and overdelivering will pay off.

7. Use media.

Make your proposal interesting by painting a picture of your product or services. Do a hands-on demonstration, or use charts, graphs, etc. Get your prospect involved and imagining their use of the product or service during the proposal.

8. Talk about the money.

This is where salespeople get uncomfortable and hesitate. State the cost and explain all costs. Don't keep anything hidden. Don't be embarrassed by the pricing. Expect the client will not be scared by the costs. Don't judge their pocketbooks.

9. Follow up.

Don't leave the presentation without agreed upon follow-up. Select the next logical step and get the potential client to agree to it. It may be meeting again, visiting a customer using the product or service, or coming to your office for another presentation of some sort. Choose the date and time and make a firm commitment before you walk out the door.

10. "No" doesn't mean it's over.

Some of my proposals have been rejected by the prospect the first time. I don't pout. I just continue my relationship with them. I keep in touch through calls, mailings, newsletters, and invitations to seminars. You never know when the right time may be or the mood may shift. Many initial "no's" have become "yes" later on. Keep in touch.

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