My goal as an instructor is to make sure you're successful. When you write a one-page proposal it might not be perfect; however, it isn’t the end of the world. You're not obligated to stick to the format I recommend. In fact, my format's a little different than the one Patrick Reilly shares in the book, The One Page Proposal. Still, it's pretty close.
When I take a look at a one-page proposal, I think of it as being divided into several sections:
- Obviously, you want to put the goals up top. You want to make sure the title sings. It has to be the kind of headline that would make somebody pick up a newspaper and buy it.
- The subtitle should include 3-4 benefits that would be recognized immediately by someone reading it. For example: “greater tenant security, energy savings, less maintenance, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, etc.”
- The rationale for change should be compelling. Your proposal should push for a better situation: less vandalism, improved tenant comfort, better indoor air quality. Whatever it is, make it clear that these problems will be fixed!
- The financial analysis is also key. If you were to fix these problems, what return would your prospect see over the lifetime of the investment? Do the financials make sense? How do rebates or incentives affect the numbers?
- The status encourages your prospect to pursue the project by telling them how many steps have already been completed. Make it clear that you’re progressing in the right direction. For example, “We did a pilot.” “We analyzed the pricing and found it to be competitive.” “We’ve checked out the specifications and made sure they met the rebate or incentive eligibility requirements.”
- The action step is the bottom line, one that is surprisingly missing in so many proposals. The purpose of a one-page proposal is to elicit action; however, it has to be simple. In fact, the Status and Action Step sections are two of the most defining differences between an executive summary and a true one-page proposal.
Writing a successful one-page proposal takes time, care and thorough research. The more you practice writing them the better you become at communicating your value to your prospects. Who doesn’t want to excel at that?
So even if you’re struggling to start or find yourself on the umpteenth draft, don’t despair. All you’re doing is sharpening your skills to become a better sales professional, and once you’ve mastered communicating in this concise and compelling fashion, you’ll be unstoppable.