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Create a SMART proposal

The success rate of vague and unclear proposals can be guessed. When customers or prospects receive little or little answers to important questions, this raises suspicion. Concrete deadlines, unquestionable prices and clear agreements, on the other hand, create trust - the basis for sustainable relationships, assignments and orders. Therefore, make concrete or SMART proposals.

What does SMART mean?

SMART stands for: Specific — Measurable — Acceptable — Realistic — Time-bound. The A can also stand for Ambitions, Acceptable or Action-Oriented. SMART is a method that has become best known for formulating goals. It makes a goal concrete, verifiable and achievable. The American professor of management, Peter Drucker, introduced the SMART method in the 1950s. It was part of his management theory Management by Objectives. A theory about the strategic management of employees through pre-set goals. An important success factor when working with pre-set goals is that these are realistic and that it can be verified afterwards whether the goals have actually been achieved. Drucker's method is, as it were, a tool. Today, sales professionals and entrepreneurs also (and successfully) use this method when making proposals. One does not necessarily have to keep the order of the letters, but it is important that all aspects are incorporated.

Score with SMART proposals

SMART proposal:


Customers or prospects would like an answer about what the offering party will do and when. Therefore, formulate in concrete terms which activities are carried out or which products are delivered. Explain what the process looks like and set the mutual expectations. Optionally, add the name of a project leader or collaborating party.


A SMART proposal is measurable or controllable. Make sure all numbers and percentages are correct. When research data is deployed, don't forget to include the source and any website. If there is a project, indicate when there are control or interim evaluation moments. Have certain goals been agreed? Explain how these are measured. For example, the number of website visitors and that this is measured via Google Analytics.


A concrete or SMART proposal is in line with the wishes and goals of the customer or prospect. A good (acquisition) conversation is the basis for this. Ask the right questions, listen in focus and verify until everything is clear. The proposal then explains how the offer contributes to achieving the wishes or goals of the customer or prospect. This ensures that the customer or prospect sees that they have been listened carefully. As a result, trust increases and the chance that the proposal will be approved is more likely.


A SMART proposal is a proposal that is correct in every area, including in the operational field. Don't make promises that may not be able to live up to. Sketch a realistic picture of the budget, material or duration of a project. If the customer or prospect does not yet have all the information available, please state in the proposal that concrete data will follow as soon as the customer or prospect has this information and has handed it over. Until then, a concept plan of action is a good alternative.


Of course, dates and deadlines should be included in every offer. Be concrete. 'In the fall' or 'soon' is not concrete. Here, too, it is important not to make agreements or promises that cannot be kept. Honesty lasts the longest and contributes to building a lasting relationship. Rather give a longer delivery time and explain why. For example, because a specific material is required, which is first imported from abroad. Please also explain why this was chosen. This prevents the customer or prospect from comparing apples to pears and opting for a competitive and faster delivery party.

One last piece of advice

Incorporate customer cases, grades, testimonials, and other evidence into proposals. This is possible with all parts of a SMART proposal and adds extra strength to the offer.


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