What A Proposal Signifies
Proposals represent a crucial stage in any sales cycle. When done the right way, writing and sending a proposal to a prospect means a close is imminent. In our sales process, the role of a proposal looks something like this:
- First Contact – This stage revolves around connecting with a new lead and having discovery calls or meetings to better understand a prospect’s needs.
- Trust Building – The second step is to build relationships that establish credibility, status, and trustworthiness. Here, it’s vital to have in-person or virtual meetings and presentations.
- Conceptual Agreement – We establish a mutual understanding of the benefits and ROI of our services and prospects indicate that everything looks and sounds good, and they want to move forward (i.e. they request a proposal to start discussing pricing details and terms). At this point, prospects want to work with us and closing them often revolves around pricing, terms, and your formal proposal.
- Project Start
I send proposals only after I’ve developed a relationship and have established a conceptual agreement with my prospects. This makes closing the sale much easier because the process places focus on the value of my services rather than my experience, credibility, or fees. Sending a premature proposal can dramatically lower your sales closing performance.
Don’t Make This Mistake
Following this process will improve your closing ratio; however, you can still run into obstacles if you try to include everything but the kitchen sink in your proposals.
The highest converting SEO proposals are a summation rather than an exploration of how you can help your prospects.Click to tweet
I see a lot of different SEO proposals from my industry peers asking for feedback. Many of them are as long as a college thesis! This article is not about the ideal length of a proposal because it varies depending on your situation. Rather, I want to share what you should and should not include in your proposals to increase your closing ratio.
When you begin to include a lot of unnecessary information, such as a lot of pages about your company when you’ve already discussed your business during calls or presentations, you risk overwhelming your prospect. Furthermore, doing this can convey your credibility desperation. Avoid the mindset of more is better, and focus on what’s important.
Want me to show you how to create proposals that close and get the exact proposal I use to close $7,500++ per month SEO clients? Check out my new Internet Marketing & SEO Proposal Creation Course.
What Should Proposals Do
To understand what you should include in your proposals, you need to know what proposals should do. They need to cover:
- Specific campaign objectives (e.g. increase revenue from organic traffic by 5% in 6 months)
- Measures of success (e.g. 15% increase in organic traffic)
- The value of the campaign to your prospects (e.g. the ability to increase a company’s bottom line profit)
- Accountabilities (e.g. clients will provide an email for blogger outreach)
- Recommended service options (e.g. always have more than one package or price level)
- Your methodology and deliverables (e.g. basic approach to SEO along with monthly deliverables)
- Terms and fees (e.g. how long the campaign will last and if there are any discounts)
- Expectations (e.g. traffic forecasting, conversion forecasting, and ROI)
These are the points you need to include in your marketing and SEO proposals. You can add other information, but you need to evaluate whether any additional information will help you close your prospect.
What Proposals Shouldn’t Do
To better understand what you should exclude from your proposals, you also need to know what proposals shouldn’t do. Proposals shouldn’t:
- Do the selling – This should have been done earlier with your calls, webinars, presentations, and meetings. As mentioned above, by the time we send a proposal to a prospect we have established a conceptual agreement. Our prospect wants to move forward with our services, and it’s a matter of discussing details such as terms and fees.
- Provide legitimacy, credentials, or validation – Again, this should have already been done before sending your proposal. If you spend a lot of time trying to prove your worth in your proposal, prospects may think you’re desperate to establish your credibility.
- Incorporate legal jargon – In the future I’ll write more on this topic. For now, let me say that I believe proposals should be simple and easy to understand, and including a lot of legal jargon and provisions will result in lower converting proposals.
If you keep these basic points in mind and avoid making the mistake of creating an overwhelming proposal, the number of prospects you close will definitely increase.
Proposal writing is half art and science, and there is a lot of ground to cover. If you need assistance or you want to get ahead, check out my new Internet marketing services and SEO proposal creation course.