The First Three of Seven Steps
Do you know what is not effective in a Sales Proposal or Sales Letter? You should, because these mistakes are far from rare. They occur time and time again. And they are so off-putting.
The first mistake occurs right at the beginning of the proposal. Its where the business starts talking about themselves, how good they are, how they are unique, unmatchable in every respect, the “ant’s pants” in fact.
I call these ME-ME proposals.
So let’s look at what you can do to change all that, and write a sales proposal that works.
Start with the Headline
If your headline doesn’t grab them, then they are not going to read on. So it has to be meaningful to them.
You need to grab your prospect’s attention. Headlines are the advertisement for your promotion, so you need to create an impact. The headline has to have a hook in to that leads the reader on. You only get one chance to grab their attention before they file your proposal in the round file.
The key to understanding headlines is that what grabs attention is personal benefit, known as WIIFM – What’s In It For Me. So you need to highlight a key benefit, preferably backed by a promise.
An example: Low Maintenance School Uniforms – That Last
So in this example the benefit is Low Maintenance School Uniforms and the promise is That Last.
There are some classic headlines leads that are used over and over again ….. because they work. Some have benefits and promise, others just benefit. Swipe and deploy!
The First 50 Words
What comes next is also very important; the opening paragraph. This is where the ME-ME shouldn’t come in, but so often does.
Your opening paragraph must be about your prospect, and their problem. Show that you understand them, their problem, and the difficulties it causes them. Empathise with them. Remember, it’s about them, not you. You can’t be persuasive if there is no empathy.
A typical way to do that is to highlight the gap between where your prospect is right now and the benefit and promise of the headline. After all, if there wasn’t a gap they wouldn’t be interested.
Staying with school uniforms: “Are you sick and tired of always having to buy expensive school uniforms only to find they are high maintenance; they pick-up dirt marks so easily, those dirt marks are hard to remove, they always requiring ironing. And they don’t last. It doesn’t have to be that way.”
Where the prospect is now, is being troubled by the problems they are facing.
Now you are need to develop Interest
Remember the task of the opening paragraph is to build on your headline to lead the prospect to read on.
I like using the acronym PIPES:
P – Problem; we started with that.
I – Implications; what are the implications for them if they don’t solve their problem. Use emotional concepts. Remember, people buy on emotions, and rationalise their decision with the facts.
P – Potential; what can they achieve/do/enjoy when their problem is solved. Again, emotions help. Ask them to visualise their situation once the problem has gone – Imagine this …..
E- Explanation; This is where the facts come in. Why there is a solution, and how it will work. This is not yet your solution, but why the type of service/product you provide will solve their problem
S – Solution; Now you are going to lead the reader into all the benefits of your product or service, why your solution is the only logical choice. You are telling them you have the solution to their problem, that your product will close the gap referred to above – guaranteed.
Introduce all the benefits of your product or service and why they offer the desired solution. It is about the end results.
To have the greatest impact use bullet points to illustrate each benefit. Bullet points are built for flyers and a lot of other promotional messages. So often people skim through your copy. Bullet points make skimming easy.
You don’t have to use a lot of writing tricks like connectors and other means of transition; just load the bullets, one after another.
Don’t just list the features (what your product is or has) of your product or service. Tell them what the feature will do for them. That’s the benefit. It tells them WIIFM. “Our uniforms are all made from XYZ Wonder Fabric. This means:”
But there is more to your persuasive sales proposal. We haven’t finished yet.
Next week I’ll look at four more steps.
Could your Sales Proposals be Improved?
There’s nothing like an outside view, a second opinion. Very often when we read something we’ve written, we read what we expect to see. And miss the mistakes, or lack of logic, or lack of persuasiveness.
If you would like to discuss how you could improve your sales letters of proposals, contact me. There’s no cost for a consultation. It is my gift to you.
Or buy my "Small Change, Big Result", my manual on how to increase your success rate with proposals and quotations; make a few small changes, and reap the rewards.
© Copyright 2016 Adam Gordon, The Profits Leak Detective