The Wall Street Journal reported just a few days ago, we are in the “texting” generation, and those writing proposals might take note here; people want it short and to the point. The days of writing lengthy documents to close a deal are long gone, and long documents are destined to be delegated downward to the lowest common denominator. But don’t expect that group to read it either. Some tips on keeping it short:
- Cut out all company overview commentary. By the time they buy from you they will know who you are. Plus, it’s all online.
- Don’t bother writing about your client either. Why an executive would need to read about their own company in your proposal is beyond me. If they don’t know what they do, you’re selling at the wrong level.
- The more technical specifications you include, the more likely the reader will require IT personnel for interpretation. Instead, focus on bullets that outline the proposed benefits and leave it at that.
- Your longest section should be your options. Make them easy to understand and building upon one another. Stop at three of four options, all stated at a high level.
- Price based on milestone and avoid lengthy explanations on how your prices are computed. When asked, be ready with a concise answer.
- And to really make this simple, avoid proposing until there is a verbal agreement. At that point your document becomes an agreement.
- Make the signing page big and easy to read, but cut down on terms and conditions which may be pages too long. If you don’t plan on suing your client, you don’t need every detail covered. Limit your liability and cover your ability to fix things if not acceptable to the client.
© 2010, David Stelzl