One of the great, compelling aspects of my job is sharing sales success and style with my sales managers.
I was a bit shocked when a sales manager asked me to send the best written proposal I have seen lately. I realized that while riding on coaching calls lately, there is a disturbing trend: The lost art of writing a good proposal. In recent economic times, the dedication to a quality sales presentation that focuses on the business goals/growth has never been so important. Instead of churning out proposals that mimic the media companys sales propaganda, sales reps need to focus on providing empirical reasons on how a client can solve a problem, meet a challenge or opportunity, and set realistic expectations. Below is a list of components that are imperative to any good presentation the over-the-top proposals never exclude any of these components and they go above and beyond with personal flair.
1. The Header Page: This page seems obvious, but it is often not included. The sweetest thing that a client can see on the proposals front cover is their logo along with the line, AN EXCLUSIVE MARKETING CAMPAIGN FOR." Including the phrase Prepared by adds a personal touch to the header page.
Be sure to list the total presentation time. It should not exceed 17 minutes, which is the duration of most peoples attention span. Including the length of the presentation allows the prospect to know that the rep respects their time.
2. Cover Letter: A three-paragraph letter that outlines a deadline for the proposal. This feature puts immediacy on the schedule and available inventory. It will also demonstrate to the prospect that these rates can fluctuate. The letter also states that the proposal has been fine-tuned and tailored to meet the business needs. Any objections will be addressed inside the proposal. The cover letter should include a short purpose statement. For example: The goal of this plan is to increase customer traffic by two people per day over the next 12 months. This letter places the expectations up front.
3. Discovery Outline: It lists the top three reasons this client should be marketing on with the reps company. Below is an example.
a. To generate new customers
b. To build the brand
c. To reach a niche market or a new segment of the community
4. Spec Campaign: Now illustrate how to accomplish these goals. The rep needs to show the creative that has been generated by the rep and production department. These ads should rise above the clutter and move people to visit the store, check the website, or call the business. Even though the creative has already been produced, the rep should include the production process which may be a script for radio or a design from the graphics department. This process will allow the prospect to make any corrections to the ads and help with the changes. This step will also keep creative objections to a minimum.
5. Commitment/Certification Page: All department heads sign off on the page before the proposal leaves the company. This shows the prospect that everyone at the reps company is committed to the proposals expectations. No rubber stamps here! Either do it right and get each department head to commit, or omit this page.
6. Return On Investment Page: This page will back up the expectations listed in the cover letter and quantify how many customers must act. The ROI can source, measure, and track the clients new leads. Using this formula allows the rep to get credit for the sales or traffic increase. Remember, the clients salespeople have to close, also. Three things the client will need to provide in order to complete the ROI:
a. Profit margin
b. Average sale
c. Closing ratio
To complete an ROI for a proposal, visit www.luceperformancegroup.com and hit the ROI calculator tab, then calculate the response to be generated and tracked.
7. Research Page: Here is a very important point. The rep must always list the research conducted on the prospect whether the research is from the Internet or walking the business. The prospect needs to know that the rep is interested and committed to the relationship.
8. Why You? One page and no more! This page is not a media kit synopsis. It should contain testimonials and a detailed explanation of the continued communication with the client.
9. The Schedule: If all of the steps of the presentation have been followed, the schedule will reflect one of the three option programs. The schedule should be easy to maneuver with all the gathered information. Otherwise, the proposal could cross over to package peddling.
10. Expectations: What can the prospect expect from the rep above and beyond the product? List these points, then have a line where both the rep and the client sign the agreement. Remember, this agreement is a two-way street. Two signatures need to be on the document.
A well-written proposal takes time and effort, but the end result will be worth the effort!
Sean Luce is the Head International Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
As seen on Radio Ink Headlines October 15, 2012