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How to make a good proposal?

Of course, every sales professional or entrepreneur wants to achieve the highest possible success rate with his proposals. A good proposal determines to an important extent whether a prospect will work with an offering company or organisation. However, making a good proposal requires more than just a proposal, especially with tailor-made product or service proposals. Attention to proposals is as important as attention to image, website or social media presence. Find out what the most important elements of good proposals are and how they are made or optimally deployed.

Structure and structure of proposals

People, but also companies and organizations, need structure. This creates clarity and the overview is preserved. This also applies to the structure of a proposal. When a proposal has an illogical or chaotic structure, there is a high risk that a customer or prospect will drop out. Various studies have shown that seeing a clear, well-arranged proposal gives prospects more confidence in the bidding company. Another advantage of a logical structure is that it meets the expectations of a prospect. This way, a head start on the competing companies is already taken in advance. A good example of a suitable structure is:

Attractive cover

This makes it possible to visualize the desired situation. This triggers curiosity and positively influences the prospect's mood.

Introduction or summary

The introduction is often the first thing the prospect reads and what he or she unconsciously remembers better. The introduction or summary offers companies the opportunity to present themselves distinctively from the start. Therefore avoid standard opening sentences such as: Following our conversation ...

Description of the current and desired situation

Take the space to describe the current and desired situation. This shows that a prospect has been properly listened to. As a result, the prospect feels heard, understood and confidence in both the offer and the proposal company grows.

Method, planning and results

For fear of giving too much away, some sales professionals and entrepreneurs prefer to skip this part. Their proposals go straight to the financial section. But contrary to popular belief, it is not the price that is decisive, but prospects are more receptive to concrete information, commitment in the form of a planning and of course the result or return of the investment that may be made.

Financial aspects

Transparency and clarity above all, this certainly also applies to the financial part of a proposal. Specify all costs, including those incurred by the tendering party. In this way, a prospect or customer gains insight into the structure of the price and there is immediate clarity when the prospect wants to compare a number of offers.

Closing

The last thing a prospect read is also often better remembered. Therefore, close enthusiastically and indicate when there is contact again. This radiates confidence and commitment.

Prefer a cover letter than an all-in-one proposal? Then use the cover letter to (further) build up the relationship with the prospect by showing commitment and enthusiasm. Relational aspects can certainly be decisive when comparing equivalent offers.

The right writing style

Preferably, a promotional writing style is used to make a good proposal. Regardless of whether the proposal is further written in a formal (where the prospect is addressed with you) or informal style (in which the prospect is addressed), proposals become convincing and more powerful with a promotional writing style. A promotional writing style is characterized by positive use of language. For example, they do not refer to problems but challenges. Include promotional text elements in a strong title on the cover and in describing, among other things, the desired situation and the solutions offered. The average offers still have a somewhat long-winded and formal style. Nowadays we see more proposals in the casual-form simply because this form is better suited to a particular prospect. Short, simple sentences in an active style are the most successful.

For example:
We will send you two choices. Both choices are guaranteed to be successful. We prefer choice 1 because of ...

In formal, passive form this becomes:
In the appendices you will find two solutions, with which you are guaranteed to achieve the aforementioned desired results regardless of your choice. Solution 1, on the other hand, would be preferable, since…

Spelling, grammar and typos

Proposal are like calling cards for a company. Proposals with correct spelling and grammar significantly increase the chance of success. Errors appear unprofessional and may even lead to rejection. It is therefore advisable to let a proposal rest after completion and to have it checked again a day later for spelling, typing errors, sentence structure and legibility. Using a proposal software also helps professionals and entrepreneurs with smart automation and options. And it's highly recommended to use software like Grammarly.com to help you write solid texts.

3 extra points for attention when making a good proposal

Apart from a strong and customer-oriented offer, it is possible to vote the prospect positively by means of three elements: 1) asking questions, 2) the use of visuals and 3) social evidential value.

1) Asking questions

Interrogative sentences grab the prospect or customer's attention. This makes the prospect feel addressed and called to answer. As a result, the prospect thinks about the question and naturally he or she becomes more involved in the text and the offer. Involvement is an important condition for influencing someone positively. Ask questions such as: Where are the bottlenecks? or What does it take to achieve more conversion? How does this organizational change contribute to…?

2) Using visuals

The importance of the design of proposals is often underestimated. Research shows that people make 95% choices through the subconscious part of their brain. By measuring brain activity while viewing images and videos, interesting information is obtained with which behavior, choices and decisions can be better predicted. It turns out that people feel comfortable with images of successful people in all kinds of situations. This neuromarketing knowledge can be perfectly applied in the design of an appealing cover, the use of images, infographics, videos, fonts and colors.

3) Social probative value

Social evidential value is the principle that certain products or services become (more) desirable because others have already experienced them as positive. Qualitative social evidential value leads to more trust and sympathy. The use of testimonials or customer cases is a proven method to remove any last doubts that prospects or customers have.

Conclusion

The prospect or customer determines, partly on the basis of a proposal, whether an order or assignment will be made. It is therefore advisable to pay attention to the preparation of proposals. A proposal submitted is generally considered to be a good indicator of the professionalism and reliability of the company. Proposal with a high success rate consist of a number of essential elements. For example, the right structure, structure and writing style are important elements for good, successful proposals. It is wise to think about these elements before starting to write the proposal. Furthermore, grammar and spelling mistakes should be avoided as much as possible. Proposals with spelling mistakes, typos or grammatical errors have a negative effect on the image that the prospect or customer has of a proposal company. Finally, there are instruments or methods that positively influence proposals. Examples include: the use of social evidential value, asking questions in a proposal and applying neuromarketing techniques in the form of visuals.

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