Sales Proposal Checklist

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There’s certainly a lot to consider before making a formal proposal to a customer. Preparation is vital and to ensure I don’t miss anything, I’ve put together this checklist. The checklist is broken down into three key areas; Design, Build and Review. By following this process, you will gain a better understanding of all the important factors and give your solution (product/service) every chance of success.

Design

Before making a start on putting the proposal together, spend some time considering why this proposal is relevant for this particular customer at this point in time. It’s important that the proposal is bespoke for your customer, so make sure all of the below have been considered:

  • What is our objective
  • What does the customer need
  • What do we feel the customer would like
  • What is the customer asking for and why
  • Who specifically is the proposal aimed at
  • What is the status quo
  • What are the customers current pressures
  • Is this an appropriate time to make a proposal
  • Has the concept been primed
  • What is the customers current opinion
  • Have they experienced the product/service before
  • What evidence of success can we share
  • Can we outline options and comparisons
  • What are others in the market doing
  • What does our/their competition offer
  • Where is the market heading in regards the topic of the proposal
  • How much effort will the customer have to make in accepting the proposal
  • What are the likely stumbling blocks or objections the customer could come back with
  • Are there any risks for parties involved
  • What is the customer missing out on or what could they lose by not accepting the proposal
  • What proposal format will work best

Build

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. –  ‘Simon Sinek’

Having considered the design and gained valuable insight, here are the key sections that should be built into the proposal, in the following order:

Why

  • do we do what we do/ what do we aspire to achieve
  • our values and goals are aligned with the customers
  • are we proposing this solution
  • it would be a reasonable investment
  • the customer should be interested to hear/see more

How

  • we strive to/achieve our goals/purpose/beliefs
  • and where, we invest to achieve our goals
  • the solution aids in achieving company objectives
  • the solution is bespoke to customer

What

  • the solution looks like
  • sets the solution apart
  • the customer can expect
  • success the solution is likely to provide
  • we can offer that others can’t
  • implementation and management of the solution would look like
  • the solution will cost and what value it represents

Review

Take a break once the proposal has been built. Clear your head and come back refreshed to review whether the proposal actually meets both parties objectives.

  • Is the proposal specific to customer
  • Does it address what they would like/need
  • Is it clear, concise and transparent
  • Does it feel familiar
  • Does it outline the ease of the solution and feel good factor
  • Is the length and format appropriate for the solution and audience
  • Are examples given ‘best case’ or ‘reasonable case’ scenarios
  • Is it assumptive
  • Have numbers and statistics been used effectively
  • What is our margin
  • What is negotiable
  • Does it offer real value
  • Is there anything in the proposal that we or the customer could regret
  • Does it outline all the potential gains and/or  losses if not implemented
  • Have we developed and used feedback from previous proposals

I hope you find this useful and if nothing else, maybe you’ll think differently before designing, building and reviewing your next proposal.

Good luck!

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