You just got back from a conversation with a potential customer. Yes, you can make a proposal! You know that there are more hijackers on the coast that you would like to leave behind. How do I make sure that the customer chooses me, it goes through your mind. Ha, that's a great starting point. You are ready for the next step.
Tip # 1 for winning proposals: make the most of the conversation
A good conversation is the basis of your proposal and the better the conversation, the higher the goodwill factor! Incidentally, it does not matter whether you have had a face-to-face or telephone conversation. Both give you the opportunity to get to know the customer and ask the right questions.
During the conversation, attentive listening is the key factor, because… you sell with your ears. Therefore, switch off all your own thoughts, forget about targets, your next appointment or whether you have to refuel later. Concentrate and especially ask open and reflective questions. It may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but keep asking until everything is clear. A customer often starts with a specific question, but further questions sometimes reveal that it is about something completely different. Write down as much as possible. Detailed notes and remarkable proposals ensure that you can pick up on the conversation in your proposal.
In any case, write down:
- the request for help or the problem
- what actions have already been taken and what the results were
- the possible solutions
- any doubts or objections from the customer
- important criteria of the customer
- who (and their functions) will soon be viewing your proposal
- remarkable proposals from the customer
Tip # 2: put the customer first
We are so used to thinking in terms of turnover, costs and targets that we sometimes risk losing sight of the customer's interests. When the customer views your proposal, he is mainly looking for recognition and confirmation. So don't come up with a completely new proposal. Did you find a better solution afterwards? Discuss this with the customer first. He will certainly appreciate it. He has almost crossed the line so far! Yes, but now the financial part. I can hear you think. But this part is also a great opportunity to further convince the customer. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the offer with the lowest price that wins, but the one with the most value. This also applies to any kind of proposal. It does not matter whether you use a fixed (project) or variable price.
In any case, substantiate your price as concretely as possible and add sources where necessary. For example:
- 15 leads per month based on (source)
- replacing the… by the… you save at least 15% on your energy costs (source)
- our customers see customer satisfaction increase to 90% due to the guaranteed 24-hour repair (name trend research by source)
- the… has been chosen as the most user-friendly product (link to evidence)
You can also add relevant customer cases or reviews to your proposal. This shows that your solution or method has proven successful before.
Tip # 3: Win with the right words
A proposal is originally a formal document. We are therefore inclined to adapt proposals with formal language. Imagine yourself, you had a pleasant conversation, were impressed by the clear way in which things were explained and then you are suddenly confronted with long, difficult and distant sentences. You no longer recognize the way of communication and you may even start to doubt yourself. Am I crazy, am I being misled here, is there a catch? Not quite the response you hope to get from your customer, right? The best words are those that convey the atmosphere of the conversation. So: if you and you spoke to each other, use that in your proposal.
Was the conversation a bit more formal? You can also address the customer directly and personally in the u-shape. You or you, try to avoid long sentences and passive language as much as possible. You do this, for example, by deleting a large part of the sentences with the auxiliary verb "become". That way you get nice reading, active sentences and you make your proposal much more personal, lively and not to mention more convincing. Just take a look at the example below. In the active sense, unanimity prevails and the solution is not an issue. Much better right?
Finally, and also a bit ahead of tip # 4: make it easy for your customer and use enough white spaces, headings and lists. That looks and reads much better!
Tip # 4: design and appearance
Fair is fair: the eye also wants something. Design plays an important role. After all, we respond better to an attractive presentation than to a thick package of paper without fuss.
Fortunately, nowadays you don't need a graphic background to make a beautiful, contemporary proposal. With an online proposal tool you can make an attractive, digital proposal in no time. In just a few simple steps, your corporate identity is implemented in detail and you never have to do anything about it again. Adding images, videos or a photo gallery is super easy with a proposal tool. You don't have to worry about the layout, because it automatically works fine. No more hassle with copy and paste, tables and other time-consuming adjustments. How nice is that?
Many customers are not yet familiar with an online proposal. With a nice, online and interactive offer you can take full advantage of the surprise effect. You break through the expectations and that means that you can count on full attention. Your proposal immediately stands out. In fact, you immediately have a 1-0 lead over your competitors. Pay attention, you will still like making proposals! Moreover, with a proposal tool you save an incredible amount of time and that comes in very handy, especially if you have to switch quickly!