Developing an outstanding proposal takes time. It can be a laborious and frustrating process; however, if the end result is concise, easy to digest, and persuasive, the hours of hard work will pay off in a big way. A proposal has the power to make or break a sale, and it is therefore vital that you invest some time and energy into making a template that really hits the ball out of the park.
There’s a difference between a short proposal and one that is persuasive and easy to digest. You may be able to trim the fat and get your proposal to a length that an average reader could digest cover-to-cover in less than ten minutes; however, the question you really need to ask yourself is: “Would a person without a background in efficiency be able to read this concise proposal and understand exactly what is being proposed?”
As efficiency sales professionals, we’re not necessarily able to answer this question on our own (since we do have a background in efficiency). I always like to say that the best way to find out if your proposal is understandable is to give it to your grandmother. If she can read the proposal, understand what is being proposed, and clearly see the value in the efficiency solution, then you know you’re on the right track. Your “grandmother” could be a friend from a different industry, your spouse, your neighbor, or any other unbiased party.
Here are some questions you might ask the person who is reviewing your proposal:
- “Can you tell what this proposal is about just by reading it?”
- “If I only gave you five minutes to read it, could you tell me what exactly we’re selling?”
- “If I only gave you five minutes to read it, could you tell me what the value is of this efficiency solution?”
These are the kinds of questions you want to ask because a lot of the decision-makers are going to spend five minutes looking at your proposal and make a decision about whether or not they should buy your product or service. If they can’t discern what you’re selling in this short amount of time, you have a problem.
Even if your current proposal template that has won you some jobs, I recommend revisiting it from time to time. Give it to an unbiased party and ask them these questions. Then revise and repeat until you’ve really perfected it.
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