Building a better proposal – save your best for first

Writing a good business proposal can seem tricky no matter how much you like to write. Even if you fancy yourself a great writer, it doesn't mean that you can write a good business proposal.

Why? Because @@when it comes to converting a prospect, it's not just what you say that counts: it's how you say it and when@@.

No matter how good you think something you've written may be, it will get you nowhere if your prospect doesn't read it.

To keep your prospect engaged, the right proposal structure is essential. And while there's no magic way to shape a proposal that can guarantee you a sale every time, here are a couple tips to keep in mind that can help you write—and structure—a proposal that really speaks to your prospect.

proposal format

1. Break your proposal into easy pieces.

Since we say we "write" a business proposal, it can be easy to forget that your prospect might not actually "read" your proposal. At least, not in the traditional sense, in which one starts from the beginning and goes through to the end. Though it should be possible for your prospect to read your proposal this way, @@it should also be possible for them to read it the way one reads a map@@. That is, they should be able to look from section to section and see how everything fits together as a whole.

So how your proposal looks is essential. You can guide your prospect by dividing your proposal into short, distinct sections, each one on some essential aspect. And, if possible, use business graphics and images (remember how many words pictures are worth!). For most businesses, automated solutions like CPQ software contain all the tools to get these proposals looking nice and polished.

The appropriate sections and images will, of course, vary depending on your business, but together they will help your prospect understand as fast as possible. And @@the faster they grasp what you're about, the more likely they are to become customers@@.

2. Save the best for first.

Usually our expressions are full of good common sense that can be applied to sales—but not always. When it comes to holding the attention of your prospect, @@saving the best for last is just about the worst thing you can do@@.

Why? Because unlike a magician who saves his best trick for the end of the show, you do not have a captive audience. You have to immediately persuade your reader to stay with you. So, in order to keep your prospect's attention squarely on your proposal and therefore on you, lead with the best and most important parts first—or at least early. Save the end for the small print, the details that only really matter once your prospect is almost ready to sign that line.

Keep these structural tips in mind and you can make sure your prospect keeps their attention where you want it—on you and why you're the best fit to meet their business needs.

We hope you enjoyed this post. If you'd like to learn more about this topic or see IQX for yourself with a free demo, contact us.