Business Skills

Sales Skills: Writing A Winning Sales Proposal That Brings You More Business

Sales skills

This is part 2 of our sales skills guide.


- Focus on the prospect's problems/needs: Start by listing the prospect's challenges you (your offering) would solve. Your product/service's benefits and features come later.


- Focus on deliverables later: As you read above, start with the prospects needs you will solve. That's they want to know first.


- Keep it short (1-2 pages): Create a concise and relevant sales proposal. Only mention the things the prospect considers important.


- Give 'three options': This gives the prospect choice (no more need to shop around for better prices, hopefully). This gives you chance to push in a higher-priced product. Remember the small, medium and large portion options at those fast food joints?


- Make it a contract by providing space at the end for signatures: This often works for simple sales (complex sales involve multiple iterations).


- Use Smart pricing strategies:

1. (when selling multiple items) Always start with the highest priced item, and then in descending order. Better to give prospect a 'sticker shock early on than surprising them in the end.

2. Avoid using price ranges. Vague pricing often end up disappointing both parties. Better to mention a specific figure, you can negotiate on.


- Use comparisons to reinforce the value of your offering: 'Before and after' is a good way to do this. 'You used to spend $100/month on...using our Product X, you will spend only $75/month, saving $ 300/year!'


- Use 'smart' words': Some savvy sales persons will avoid saying 'fee', 'cost' or 'charge', and will instead say 'investment'. Use words to portray your position in advantage.


A Sales Proposal Template

Notes are in the parentheses. This sales proposal is for selling a service.


Table of Contents


1. Executive Summary (Summarize the prospect's challenges you will help solve, followed by key deliverables, project timelines, pricing, and any other relevant information that will help them make a decision from reading part itself.)


2. Our Understanding

2.1 Your Company/organization (things you know about them - do a Google search)

2.2 Your Needs (Summary of the prospect’s needs, using bullet lists, prioritized according to value)

2.3 Decision Criteria (briefly list any decisions, including service level agreements, warranties, professional services, delivery timelines, etc. Rank them for importance - 'high, mid, low')


3. Our Approach

3.1 Our Company (Summarize your company/organization, competitive advantages or differentiation (USP - Unique Selling points) from key competitors.

3.2 Our Solution (Based on the prospect’s decision criteria - key deliverables, professional services, service level agreement, and project delivery timelines.)

3.2.1 Key Product/Service Offering (List of important components of your product/service, and valuable in meeting the prospect’s need.)

3.2.2 Professional Services (How you will help with implementation.)

3.2.3 Service Level Agreement (Your standard service level agreement.)

3.2.4 Project Delivery Timelines (Timelines, deliverables, milestones, and checkpoints.)

3.3 Action Plan (Step-by-step implementation, aligned to the prospect’s purchasing process.)


4. Pricing & Terms

4.1 Price (And include any additional expenses - travel, special supplies etc)

4.2 Terms


5. Contact Information

5.1 Headquarters

5.2 Account Manager

5.3 Sales in-charge (E.g. VP Sales)


6. Appendix

6.1 Additional Information (Any other additional information - service level agreement, satisfaction guarantee, customer references, testimonials etc.)


Sales presentations


The problem-solving presentation: Use cause and effect.

The need-satisfaction presentation: Develop the need first.

The 'Tell em' presentation: Tell them three times to help them get the point.


A typical sales presentation is structured like this:

- Company introduction

- Establish credibility (sales figures, awards, testimonials)

- Establish need (problem, effects of the problem)

- Show the product

- Show how product solves their need/problems

- Ask for questions

- Resolve objections

- Discussion


Please also read the guide to 'presentations.'


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