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September 22 2019.
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Common mistakes in sales proposal.

Sales proposal (also called as sales offer, Quotation, Commercial offer) is one of the most complex form of business communication. Persuading & educating the buyer in today's competitive market requires clear, concise, and compelling business writing and a persuasive value proposition.

Let’s look at 9 basic guidelines while preparing a “Proposal”.


1. Never title your proposal "Proposal "
(or sales offer, Quotation, Commercial offer). It doesn't say anything which buyer can figure out! Its like giving title of a book "Book". Instead, write a title that indicates a benefit to the buyer.

2. Focus on your clients' business needs or problem areas first. State what you have heard from them before offering a solution. It indicates what they care about the most, and it shows you've listened and understood their interests and are not offering a “template” approach.

3. Avoid lengthy corporate histories. Believe me nobody's interested!

4. Eliminate jargon. Even if person you’ve met at clients’ organization understands all of your jargon, don’t assume it is true with the other decision makers. Instead use the customer’s language. Remember each customer has different language/jargon for communication even if it’s English!

5. Keep your proposal as short as possible. It's always tempting to add pages that might be of interest, but in reality the decision makers may not read it. At best, they'll skim through your document. A short proposal is likely to be looked at first.

6. Highlight the key points. Note the comment about skimming in the previous tip: Decision makers skim. You can make your document more "readable" by highlighting the main ideas. Use bullets, headings and subheadings (& many other tools!) that make key points highly visible.

7. Quantify your benefits and payback. E.g. show the decision maker how much he will save (by implementing your solution), or lose (due delay!) or how much more productive the organization will be. A convincing calculation of your client's investment is compelling than a slogan or cliché.

8. “Don’t let buyer compare apple with oranges”! If you know who you are competing against, raise issues in your proposal that strike at their weak points. You need not mention them by name.

9. Ask for their business. Don’t be passive, it doesn't work. One has to ask!

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