Securing a new customer is worth celebrating, but before you can break open the bubbly you need to prepare. Writing a business proposal outlining what you and a customer expect from any relationship helps them to put their trust in you.
“If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.” Zig Ziglar
You spend hours crafting your social media content in the hope it reaches your target audience. Your diary is full of networking events where you introduce yourself to potential customers. You are passionate about your products or services and you want the world to know it.
Whilst being passionate about your business is vital, you have to then make that all important connection and do business in order to pay the bills.
If you’ve watched any of my webinars you will know that I’m all about selling in a human centered way and using your UHP – Unique Human Proposition®. How you sell is just as important as what you sell.
Attracting your target audience is only the start of building a relationship. Your storytelling and actions allow potential customers to get to know and like you. Once this has been achieved, you nurture a level of trust prompting them to buy from you.
There are many benefits to writing a proposal and I have listed five below which I think are key to consider. Remember, you can be unique in a proposal and inject some personality into it, so get creative – don’t feel it has to be a corporate worded official document. You are still selling yourself in a proposal, and as I advocate human selling, make that proposal human!
What is a business proposal?
Ultimately it is your offer of a solution in the form of writing. It takes many forms and in larger companies this document might be prepared by a special team responsible for quotes or bids. For smaller business owners it might be as simple as an email outlining your prices and values, but you can make it so much more and so not only do I want to share why write one, I want you to make the most of it too!
Why write a business proposal?
- Transparency and Integrity – by submitting a business proposal to a potential customer you are keeping them informed so they know exactly what to expect from you. You can include the number of hours you will dedicate to their work, the rates you will charge them, the type of tasks you can perform, and more. Detailing all of this information takes away any uncertainty or challenges further down the line.
- Communication – keeping the lines of communication open is important when quoting for pieces of work. Sending a business proposal allows your potential customer to keep in touch with you, ask those all important questions, and begin to build trust. Be sure to listen to what your customer is asking for and never assume anything.
- Feedback – upon receiving your written proposal your potential customer may come back to you with valuable feedback on your rates or other aspects of your business. Are you charging the right fees, are you offering too many hours, is there a gap in your services? A proposal is an important tool that allows your customers to give you an insight into how they view you and your business
- Value and credibility – submitting your proposal gives you the chance to set out your value, demonstrate you understood the brief and show your customer how professional and trustworthy you are. Your target audience wants to know they are working with someone who will look after their needs honestly and efficiently. A proposal is a great place to start. You’re showing that you are investing time for them before they’ve even chosen you!
- Preparation and time management – a business proposal isn’t only a valuable tool for your customer but a helpful resource for you too. Laying out your rates, hours, and all aspects of offering your service allows you to see at a glance what you need to organise from an administration point of view. Do you need extra staff? Will you need to set aside specific days/times each week in your diary? Are there any tools/resources you need to help you complete the work?
How do you write a business proposal?
A proposal can be a simple written document such as an email. As long as it’s professional and offers clarity for your customer it will work, but as I mentioned above, you can make it so much more. A chance to show who you really are, your personality – your UHP® and how you really are different.
In this digital age you can make it look fabulous. Tools like Canva, video content and branding all have a big part to play in personalising a proposal, oh yes, and personalisation…is so important! Add in something very specific that you know about the customer from your discussions and then they won’t think it is a generic template.
Try breaking down the customer’s project into sections and address each one individually. Itemised segments and prices work well for this. It’s also worth adding a disclaimer should the piece or work change significantly.
Once a customer agrees to work with me I turn the proposal into a signed agreement by adding space for a signature at the bottom. This then shows commitment on both parties that you are about to work together and maybe change the world!
How and when you follow up is another blog post in itself, but for now…be patient. Allow your customer to digest what you’ve sent and by all means check they have received the proposal a few days later and invite any questions.
If your discovery call and proposal were on point and full of everything above you have a very good chance of doing business. That’s not arrogant, that is making sure you secure the sale as you go along and not rely on the final ‘closing’ and pushy panic!
Above all have confidence and belief in what you do. When you are selling in a human way you will find you are asked for a proposal more than you have to offer one.
For more advice on putting together a proposal, you might want to grab a copy of my book Live it Love it Sell it. I include more information on writing proposals and include an example (page 132).
Join my Facebook Group – ‘The Sales Hub’ and if you want even more then come and join the Sales Academy. It will help you understand the benefits of nurturing your relationships with customers, including writing business proposals. It’s also the place to be if you want to fall in love with selling, and meet like-minded business owners. My article, 4 Reasons Why Joining a Membership Will Help Your Business Grow, gives you more information.
“Jules is just amazing! As soon as I met her, I felt like I’d known her forever. We connected on so many levels and I know we’ll keep in touch. In just one short intro call and one full session, I could feel the difference in myself. Jules made me realise so many things about me and has a knack of getting you to stand up and take accountability. She isn’t fluffy- she tells you it as it is, in the most endearing way- which let’s be honest, is what we all need! When we spoke next I felt like, I had taken a much more positive path, and Jules has most definitely had a big impact on that. If you have the opportunity to work with Jules- go for it!” Katie Colella, Katie Colella Socia
Want to find out more? Schedule a virtual cuppa with me, and we can chat about the membership or my other coaching services.