5 Keys to a Sales Proposal that Closes Deals (You need to know NOW!)

You spend so much of your time getting in front of the right prospects, making sure they’re qualified and interested. But once you actually have a great prospect, does your sales proposal help close the sale?

Or does your sales proposal actually create roadblocks to closing the deal?

Many of my clients have never thought through what their sales proposal should look like in order to be a tool that helps them close deals.

Have you thought about it?

A great sales proposal has a massive impact on closing the sale. It can be the difference between closing or not closing, and the right sales proposal can also be the difference between a small sale or a massive sale.

In this video, I’m going to show you the 5 keys to a sales proposal that closes deals. You need to know these now! Check it out:

Sales Proposal Video Summary :

Sales Proposal Tip #1: Keep the sales proposal under three pages.

Sales Proposal Tip #1: Keep the sales proposal under three pages.There’s such temptation to put everything you’ve got — the entire kitchen sink — into your sales proposal. But the problem is that when you’re giving a really big, long sales proposal to prospects, you’re just giving them homework.

Imagine if someone came up to you and gave you a binder full of content, and just said, “Here. Read this. Oh, by the way, we want your money.” It just doesn’t make sense!

Proposals must be short, and if your sales proposal is three pages, chances are it’s already too long. Our proposals are always about two pages max. The first page is dedicated to understanding what the prospect’s situation is, and the second page is focused on deliverables.

Keep it short so that way they actually read it, and they’re not overwhelmed and turned off. Also, keeping it short forces us to think really sharply about what’s most important that must go into the sales proposal. Keeping your proposals short is going to make a huge impact on both the quality of your proposal and the likelihood that your prospect actually reads it.

So, all of those pages like “About Us” and “Our Qualifications” have got to go. Get rid of the terms and conditions, unless you absolutely need it. And even then, pare them down to the shortest possible iteration you can. (For example, in the financial space, where there are actual legal requirements, only include what your legal department says is absolutely necessary.) Keep it really simple and to the point.

Sales Proposal Tip #2: Begin by restating the prospect’s core objectives and challenges.

Sales Proposal Tip #2: Begin by restating the prospect's core objectives and challenges.Your sales proposal can’t be boilerplate in this regard. It’s tempting to give every prospect essentially the same sales proposal, but this step requires that you put some real thought into the conversations that you’ve already had with the prospect.

If you don’t know your prospect’s core objectives and challenges as a result of your previous conversations, then you’re not ready for the proposal. So this also forces us to be really thorough in the discovery phase of the sale, to really understand what they most care about. What are those objectives that they absolutely need to accomplish? And what are the challenges they’re facing that are currently holding them back from achieving those objectives?

If you’re able to restate those core objectives and challenges in the first part of your proposal, you’re showing them that you really listened. You paid attention, and you understand what’s going on in their world.

This creates so much value for prospects. Chances are they haven’t ever really looked at their objectives and challenges on a piece of paper before. By doing this, you’re going to achieve a huge level of differentiation from your competitors. They’re just sending out the same crappy, boilerplate proposals that the prospect has seen a million times. You can be different right here by restating those core objectives and challenges.

Sales Proposal Tip #3: Create three options for working with you in your sales proposal.

Sales Proposal Tip #3: Create three options for working with you in your sales proposal.

The reality is that you never know exactly what a prospect is going to want. Even someone like me, who does a really thorough, two-hour discovery meeting with my consulting clients, never really knows. Will they be willing to go for the high-end option? Or do they want the bare essentials?

By creating three options for working with you in your sales proposal, you’re creating a level of optionality. On the low end, you’re going to have the minimum option for working with you. It’s going to be pared down. It’s going to be basic. It’s almost like a first step of sorts. But it’s also less expensive.

And then in the middle, it’s probably your core offering. On the high end, that third option is going to be the Mercedes-Benz of options. It’s the really high-end option. It may be an option that you’ve never even presented before because you thought to yourself, “Geez, this is such a big option.”

That third, high-end option is going to make the first two options look like no-brainers. So, you’re not only creating optionality that gives your prospect the desire and the ability to feel like, “Hey, you know what, I don’t have to shop around because I’ve got three options here,” but it’s also creating value for that middle option in particular.

And sometimes prospects do choose that third option! I can’t tell you the number of times my prospects have just gone with that third option, and I think to myself, “There’s no way they’re going to choose this. It’s so expensive!” But they choose that third option because they’re saying, “You know what, I trust this person, and I want the absolute best.” Some people just buy the best.

Create that third option. It’s going to make that second option seem like a no-brainer, and you know what, sometimes you’re going to get those big sales with that third option. This is one of the easiest tactical changes to make to your sales proposal. It’s going to have a huge impact on the close rate of your sales, and also the average sale size, because you’re going to make way bigger sales.

Sales Proposal Tip #4: Only address the prospect’s stated issues in your sales proposal.

Sales Proposal Tip #4: Only address the prospect's stated issues in your sales proposal.Your prospects don’t care about everything that you can do for them. All they care about is that you are going to do what you need to do in order to solve their challenges. So, only put in the proposal the solutions to the stated issues that you have already discussed.

Have you ever been in a sales situation where you were just on the goal line, you were about to close the sale, and then you say, “Oh, by the way, let me show you one last thing that we can be doing.” And then suddenly the prospect’s like, “Hmm, I don’t know, I don’t really need that.” And suddenly you’re in backpedal mode, because you’re like, “Oh, crap, I just went went out on a limb, and it did not work.”

We don’t want to take those kinds of risks. There are times to take risks in sales, but not with the sales proposal. Only address what the prospect has already stated is an issue and a challenge. Nothing else.  

Sales Proposal Tip #5: Make the sales proposal a contract that can be signed.

Sales Proposal Tip #5: Make the sales proposal a contract that can be signed.

This is really important. There’s a tendency to have to make a second step after the prospect accepts the proposal. So, the prospect says, “Yeah, we’ll move forward. We’d like to go with Option Two.” And then you say, “OK, great. I’ll send over the contract.”

That simple step is now creating a barrier to closing the sale. Because life happens. Your prospects are busy. If they’re important people, which I hope they are, then they’re busy and they’re likely to get distracted and sidetracked. Other things are going to come up.

Make the proposal itself a contract that can be signed. Now again, I understand, there are certain industries where there has to be a big contract with all the fancy jargon and lawyer stuff. Fine. But if you can, ideally make it so the sales proposal is still signable, so that way it feels like a signed contract. Maybe there’s a follow-up contract that has to come after, but at least lock in the deal. Make it so that you can at least get that first payment initially as a result of that signed proposal.

sales proposals to close the deal you need to know nowSo, there you have it. Now you know 5 keys to a sales proposal that closes deals. I want to hear from you. Which of these ideas did you find most useful? Be sure to share below in the comments section to get involved in the conversation.

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About the Author Marc Wayshak

Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.

Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.

Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.

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