6. Stage 3 - Propose

  1. He who writes the tender, controls the tender. Work hard at this. Help your customer by writing the bulk of the tender and control the game.

  2. In a competitive situation, you should always write a proposal from scratch. It takes longer but every single word matters.

  3. Remember, a sales proposal needs to do the work of a sales person when the sales person isn't there. That's its purpose - a sales tool.

  4. Every sentence in a proposal should reassure, be conclusive, and always, ALWAYS should be closing the reader – because you won't be there.

  5. Just like a great book stimulates the reader's imagination, a great proposal must do the same. It must inspire the reader.

  6. Keep the main body of your sales proposals short and put all the background detail in the Appendix.

  7. Don't waste pages on history - you can't affect the past, only the future - reference the “current state” but focus on the “future state”.

  8. The Executive Summary is THE most important section. Keep it relevant - no waffle.

  9. The Executive Summary is aimed at Executives, i.e., busy, logical business people. Be concise and speak their language.

  10. A reasonably sized deal will ALWAYS require Director sign off - blow their socks off with a brilliant proposal.

  11. A proposal is NEVER about you and your company. It's about your customer's business and their drivers.

  12. Your sales proposal needs to be conscious of the fact that it's always about your customer's business - and their profits.

  13. Be brilliant at articulating the ROI your customer can expect by investing in your product or service.

  14. What are you really proposing? I.T., or cost savings? I.T., or revenue growth? I.T., or control? I.T., or compliance? It's NEVER about I.T. - is it?!

  15. A sales proposal is there to clarify what it is you're tangibly delivering and WHY it's important and/or urgent to your customer.

  16. Gain credibility early on in your proposal. Once you're credible you'll be listened to - never before.

  17. Sales proposals need to address the needs and anxieties of all the key stakeholders. Know your readers.

  18. Always include a Statement of Works in your proposal - this needs to summarise what you will do, and when. Ask your customer to sign it.

  19. If you're presenting, always know who's going to be there and why they're there. Ring ahead. Know your audience.

  20. When presenting, your audience will read your slides faster than you can. So don't read them. The slides should merely be prompts for you.