- What is a Business Proposal?
- Types of business proposal
- A "Cold" or unsolicited business proposal
- Errors in a commercial offer the compilation
- Business proposal design
What is a Business Proposal?
A Business proposal or Commercial offer is a sales text which enables you to achieve the desired action from your potential client e.g. to call your company, write a letter, register on your website, etc. Before you make an offer, you must be sure to define:
Who is your customer;
What exactly you are offering them;
Clearly define what he should do after reading the proposal/offer.
You can learn how to do this in our special article "Marketing basics". In this article, we focus more on the structure and design of commercial proposals.
Types of business proposal
First of all, it should be noted that there are two types of commercial offers: a "Cold" or unsolicited business proposal (sent to a "cold"or unprepared client who does not expect it from you), and a "Hot" or solicited commercial offer (sent to the client, with whom negotiations have already begun, and their needs have already been clarified).
A "Cold" or unsolicited business proposal
It is important to remember that a "cold" proposal isn't about selling goods or services, but is rather to develop interest from the potential client. As such, do not try to include too much information in this type of offer. On the contrary, it is important to focus on one major advantage! The maximum size of the offer, therefore, must not exceed the size of an A4 sheet.
Properly prepared commercial proposals must have a certain structure:
A good title is 80% of your ad's success. It should attract attention and correspond to the needs of the potential client. It should distinguish you from your competitors and offer a benefit that is hard to refuse!
Here are a few sample models for making titles:
The Title - Question
The question in the title should subconsciously cause a person to answer it. However, in order for the question to be answered, the question needs to be simple enough to be comprehended. This makes the reader think about the topic, and if it is relevant to them, they will also consider the text of the commercial offer.
The most popular titles generally start with the word "How". The general stereotype suggests that the word "How", is by default 'practical', which is very useful in order to get the readers attention.
For example: "How to make $ 10,000 a day?"
Title - Solution of the problem (question and answer)
In our opinion – the most effective version of the title
For example: "Tormented by creditors? Formalize personal bankruptcy!".
Title- Specifies the target audience
In the title, you can immediately indicate who the proposal is for. For example: "Are you an Internet business owner? Double your sales in 60 days. Training with guarantee".
Title- Personal experience
People always have more confidence in those who have already done something, rather than those who simply talk about how to do something. For example:"How I lost 20 kg."
Title- Mystery, secret, intrigue
ЛPeople just love secrets and mysteries, especially if these secrets will allow them to get certain advantages.
For example: "10 secrets of quick money!"
The Title - Figures
Having figures in the headline act as a quantitative indicator for the material. In addition, the figures help to organize the content and are a good evidence base.
For example: "5 easy ways to lose weight".
Title - "Horror Story"
Fear is a very powerful motivating factor, but you need to use it wisely. Being excessive can intimidate the client and have the opposite effect. Meaning your offer will provoke a negative reaction! Guarantee works much better!
A guarantee is in fact a derivative of fear, only by a different name. When a person feels secure, they become more comfortable with the text and are much more likely to read on.
For a "cold" proposal, we strongly recommend that you do not use the "Proposal" or "Offer" as the header, because the customer will most likely automatically send it to the trash.
At the same time, for a" hot " commercial offer, a title is more appropriate when the name of the company and the name of the recipient follow on from it.
After writing the title, ask yourself three questions:
- Do you want to know the details after reading the title?
- Do you like it?
- Are you not ashamed to publish the text with this title?
The main goal of the introductory paragraph is to grab the readers interest and to disclose, in more detail, the subject of the commercial offer. The introductory paragraph should be a logical extension of the title to make the title complete and also be consistent. An introductory paragraph may, like a title, consist of questions or statements.
Title "How to quit Smoking?"
Example of an introductory paragraph: "Do you want to quit smoking, but don't know how? Tried everything, but nothing has helped? Congratulations! You've finally found a solution!"
The following information should not be found in the introductory paragraph:
- story about your company;
- history of your company;
- a story about your products and services;
- your regalia, awards;
- properties and characteristics of your products and services.
The offer is at the heart of your business proposal. It is the essence. In it you should specifically tell the reader what they are being offered and at what the advantage are for them.
Wrong offer: "Come to our seminar".
Correct offer: "We propose to increase your sales by 50% if you visit our seminar!"
An offer must consist of one or a maximum of two sentences.
It makes sense to mark the offer by typeface or color.
Once you have made a powerful offer, it is time to strengthen it with additional benefits. In this part, you should tell the client about how you are going to fulfill what you have promised them in the offer. Here you can describe to the client the benefits of using your product/service. Please Note! You shouldn't just describe the properties of your goods or services, as they are not of interest to them unless you actually highlight the benefits, which your client will have from using your service or buying your goods!
When working on your advertising campaign, make sure that you think about the client and their problems. The motive for the client could be about a benefit such as profit, or about how your product and service could help them to stop making losses.
Give a transparent and clear explanation of how your proposal solves the customer's problems or improves their life. Explain that the client isn't spending money, but investing money! There is no better investment than investing in yourself.
Advertise the result, not the process! For example, don't say just say 'fight being overweight', but rather 'weight loss!'
Always show benefits in numerical form. For example, not just "big earnings", but "earn 200 thousand dollars."
Transfer percents into concrete figures. For example, 10% discount = 20 dollars!
Simplify all complex numbers with comparisons. For example, is a computer with a 100MB hard drive a lot or a little? It is much better to translate this figure into something more understandable for the client. For example, a hard disk drive can hold 10,000 photos, 50,000 songs or 100 movies.
A good technique is to compare the price of goods with something of comparative of value. This helps to give the client perspective. For example, for a student - "a book for the price of a burger", for a businessman - "a book for the cost of lunch", etc. As evidence, use facts, based on research and calculations. Figures, in practice, look much more convincing than words.
Tables or graphs are a great tool for proving growth dynamics.
Images - "better to see once than to hear a hundred times"! Depending on the specifics of your offer, you can offer readers pictures, photos or other images.
Guarantees- specific guarantees (possibly extended and non-standard) can qualitatively improve the commercial offer.
Complete the description of the advantages and benefits for the customer with the help of testimonials. You can use:
- Feedback from other customers. This evidence is perhaps the most valuable, especially if the client is quite well known and authoritative. It is very important that the testimonials highlight the benefit the client received from using your product/service.
- Tell your own success story. This should be a story which really interests the buyer and encourages them to take some action.
- Having a large list of clients isn't so important if there are famous names among them. The reader will have confidence in your business if you have credible testimonials from trusted sources.
Some commercial offers miss a price. And this is not good! The price must be specified in your offer. Specifying prices, you show the client that your business is transparent, and he knows what to expect when applying to your company. When the prices of a product or service are not specified in your offer, the customer will most likely not want to deal with your business.
Bonuses are optional for a commercial offer, but they can be a very beneficial addition.
- A bonus compliments the main product;
- A bonus is useful and demanded by customers;
- A bonus has a certain value, including money;
- Several bonuses are much better than one;
- A bonus should not be more valuable than the product itself;
Deadline - the limit of the offer or bonus duration.
The deadline can be temporary or quantitative. Temporary - when the offer is valid until a certain date or time. Always specify a clear deadline, for example, not "June", but "from 1st June to 10th June".
Quantitative deadline – when the quantity of goods is limited, for example, by the stock or the goods involved in the promotion.
Call to action
Any commercial offer should be ended with a call to action. The ultimate goal of the commercial offer is to influence the action that we expect from the client after reading it. The best call to action is a verb in the imperative form. For example: "Call", "Click", "Write", "Buy", "Place an order", "Order the service right now and get a 25% discount!"
By the way, it makes sense to use the Call to action not only in the commercial offer, but also on your website, business cards, and in your E-mail signature.
Do not forget to specify the contact details: sender's name and phone numbers, e-mail, website, depending on what action the client should take.
The final and one of the most important elements of all powerful commercial offers, is a PostScript (P.S.). When used properly, the PostScript becomes a very powerful motivating tool. Research shows that people frequently read PostScripts (after the signature and under the pictures). That's why, if you want to boost your offer, use a PostScript.
Errors in a commercial offer the compilation
Below is a list of the most common errors made when creating business proposals, which can negatively affect the perception of customers.
- Telling a detailed story about your company instead of talking about the specific benefits to the client. Information about your company is not particularly interesting to anyone. You can disucss the company in one or two sentences, but not in the Offer section, Title or Introductory paragraph. These sections are necessary only for the solution to the client problem!
- Unnatural and unnecessary praise of the client can often be off putting and will only cause negativity and an unwillingness to correspond with your company.
- Being critical of the client. You can subtly suggest that the client's use of competitor's products wasn't the best choice, but still, it's always better to talk about the benefits of your product!
- Customer intimidation or so-called"horror stories". You shouldn't scare the consumer by telling them that without your help their business will suffer. It is necessary to highlight the advantages of the product, compare that with what the client has now (e.g. easier to use, more profitable, more efficient), and only to give specific information.
- Cleverness. Another common mistake is when the commercial offer is overloaded with excessive information, making it incomprehensible to the reader. This can result from using 'foreign' words and very highly specialized terminology.
Business proposal design
The design of the commercial offer is based on the main idea - a competitive advantage. It is important that it is displayed visually, via a photo or a picture. Images in a commercial proposal are more important than the text. A picture says more than a thousand words! The power of photos and images are equal to the power of the title.
- Photos "before/ after". The stronger the contrast between" before "and" after", the more attention the image attracts.
- Photos of the goods, services;
- Photos of satisfied customers with the object in their hands;
In addition to images and photos, you need to use the "Icons" - symbolized objects or actions, for example, an envelope icon in front of the form for sending a message or contacts etc. Also, in the design of the commercial offer you need to use branded fonts, colors, graphics and logos.