Before You Write Your Next Proposal, Consider…

One issue that repeatedly comes up in sales coaching sessions is how to write an effective proposal.  A few comments before you write anything…

… you should be clear about what a proposal is.  Marketing groups and managers have done a disservice to their sales team by creating mammoth documents, unreadable terms and conditions, and a format that looks more like a legal will than a friendly agreement to buy.  What is a proposal?

  • Think marketing!  This is the final marketing piece.  You might have delivered one-sheets or data sheets, presentation material, or perhaps a findings document, and hopefully you had marketing in mind.  Your documents should have been professional looking, easy to read, and pleasing to the eye.  What about the proposal?
  • A summary of everything you’ve agreed to.  The deal is done, now we are just agreeing in writing, so this should clearly reflect all we have discussed and agreed to.
  • Boundaries of scope.  The proposal outlines what we did agree to, but also clarifies boundaries to stay within.
  • A contract.  This is your written agreement, so it should clearly state what you will deliver and how.  There should be no question.


The proposal is not:

  • Another selling tool.  The deal is sold at this point – but the agreement is only verbal until this is signed.
  • Ideas, guidelines, or negotiation.  You should have already agreed to a scope at this point, and the fee has been established.  If there are fee changes, there will be scope changes.
  • A time to be clever – writing esoteric pros.
  • A competition to see who can write the longest document.

Take steps to make buying from you easy to do…

© 2011, David Stelzl


2 thoughts on “Before You Write Your Next Proposal, Consider…

  1. I agree David.Nothing looks worse than when I recieve a one sheet created on a clients home computer and printed in black & white or in color for that matter if its on the wrong type of paper.

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