Whenever you get a new lead, you spend countless hours crafting the perfect proposal.
You’ve laid down what you’ll do for a prospect, exactly when you’ll do it, and how you’ll do it.
Heck, you even threw in a money-back guarantee to make an airtight proposal.
But 8 out of 10 times, you never hear back from them, and here’s why:
Your prospect doesn’t trust that you’ll deliver results as they’ve never worked with you before.
Also, there’s too much risk involved, and a money-back guarantee won’t sway things in your favour despite the upside of reduced financial risks.
This is because your prospect is investing their time and opportunity, two things they can’t get back.
You also don’t want to spend time working on proposals only to hear crickets.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to.
I’m going to show you how to craft a killer proposal that’ll floor your prospects and help you close difficult deals.
There’s also a sweet bonus waiting for you at the end, so stick with me until then!
This article contains:
5 Steps to Crafting a Killer Proposal
Writing a proposal is similar to crafting a sales letter- it must persuade your prospect to seal the deal without a second thought.
Over the years, I developed a proposal structure that helps me close hot leads and get paid what I deserve, even if I wasn’t the least expensive option my client had.
And the following section dives into each part of a killer proposal, starting from understanding the problem to selling a story, offering a solution, and a call-to-action.
Let’s start with learning how to define a problem.
1. Understand The Problem
Every website and application is built to solve a business problem. You get paid for understanding the problem’s core, empathising with your client, and helping them solve it.
That’s why the first part of the proposal has more to do with the client discovery call than the proposal itself.
I’ll let you in on a reliable method to uncover all of your client’s pain points.
It’s called the Socrates questioning, and lawyers and philosophers have used it for more than 2,000 years to open dialogues to critical inquiry.
The idea of the exercise is to involve yourself in the conversation, understand the “why behind the project”, and get your prospect to admit that their bottomline is affected.
Here are the 3 steps used in the Socrates method of Questioning:
Expose the problem: Start the dialogue by asking your client what prompted them to contact you.
For instance, why does your prospect want a website upgrade? Do they think their website is outdated and slow?
Unearth the consequences: If your prospect’s website is slow and outdated, ask them if it’s affecting their business.
Evaluate the consequences: Is the outdated website the only reason your prospect is losing business? Is there anything else you can do to bring more leads to their business?
This is how you empathise with your prospect and gain their trust simultaneously. And you’re ready to draft a proposal once you’ve done this.
Begin your proposal with a problem summary (brownie points if you can write down the exact problem verbatim.)
Remind your clients of the consequences of not solving this problem right away, although you assume that they may be fully aware of that.
2. Sell a Story
Once you’ve outlined the downsides of not fixing this problem, switch gears and show prospects what their future would look like once you’ve solved the problem.
What do I mean by this?
Imagine that you bought a new house. You want to transform it into a space that your family will love.
So, you reach out to various interior designers and request them for quotes and proposals.
Designer A sends you a proposal showing what life will look like in your new home (and other important details like costs and materials required.)
It promises a room that doubles as a home office for you, a cool study room for your sibling, a modern kitchen that’ll win your mom’s heart, and a spacious garden for your dad’s morning walks.
Designer B sends you a proposal with a list of services offered and the costs for materials and human resources required. Their proposal is full of technicalities that make your head spin.
Which designer would you hire to renovate your space?
You’d hire Designer A because their proposal focused on your goal of creating a habitable living space for everyone instead of a lengthy and obscure to-do list.
The same logic applies to your prospects. They’re on the lookout for someone who understands the problem and delivers a solution that aligns with their financial goals.
So, your prospects aren’t looking for a website designer. Instead, they’re looking for a solution provider who’ll help them get more leads through their websites.
3. Outline the Results
So far, you’ve laid out the problems (start line) and described what the client stands to gain by doing business with you (destination).
Now, you’ll map out the journey to take your prospect from the start line to the final destination by explaining what you’ll do to lead your prospect there.
To do this, include the features of your service (deliverables) along with their benefits (measurable financial results).
If you can’t quantify the results you’ll deliver, describe how your process will make your clients superheroes or help them reach the next step.
Here are a few examples:
Suppose you want to work with a startup looking to get funded, anchor your services to their funding goal and explain how you can help them attain it.
If you want to secure a deal with non-profits, describe how your service will help them gain trust and get more donations into their pocket.
4. Make your Offer
When you’re making an offer, you want two things to happen:
- The client must wonder how much they should be paying you and not second-guess their hiring decision.
- The client must feel satisfied that they’re receiving maximum value despite choosing the lowest package.
And the most important thing to remember is that you’re not exchanging time for money.
You’re a solutions provider who delivers results that benefit your client’s business. So, you’re going to find more than one way to solve your client’s problem.
Let me explain this with a simple example.
Imagine you’re hungry (Problem). You must find a way to eliminate hunger (Solution).
You could cook your meal, order a meal online or drive to a restaurant.
If you’re price-sensitive, you’ll cook your meal.
If you wanted to fill your stomach and save time spent cooking, you’d opt to order in.
And you’d drive to a restaurant to eat if you didn’t mind spending extra on making great memories with your loved ones.
These are all paths to the solution, or in other words, they’re offers with different pricing structures.
The lowest package solves the problem, but the higher packages offer more value than the solution.
In the above example, cooking at home and eating at a restaurant solved the hunger problem.
But the restaurant option also gave prospects the option to create beautiful memories and enjoy the ambience of the place.
Price-sensitive clients will gravitate towards the lower pricing options, while value-sensitive clients will opt for your premium offers.
The Ideal Pricing Structure
According to the data that Gumroad provided, 1x, 2.2x, and 5x are the optimal pricing multipliers.
So, if your client wants a website that gets them more leads, determine how you’d solve the problem with the 1x pricing offer and add more value in the higher-priced offers.
For instance, you may build a website that gets X leads for $1,000, 2X leads for $2,200 with added SEO services, and 4X leads for $5,000 with full-stack digital marketing services.
The bottomline is that the client won’t feel like they’re missing out on value because they chose your lowest-priced offer.
If you do this, you’re guaranteed to close most proposals that come your way.
Remind your clients that they’re leaving money on the table if they don’t move forward with the offer right away.
And don’t resort to artificial urgency tactics to get them to sign up. Instead, create an offer that they can avail within a stipulated time to encourage immediate action.
Next, let them know about your availability and give them a deadline to accept the offer. This way, you’ll make time for other prospects who are willing to work with you.
If you’ve made it to the end, congratulations! Here’s your FREE proposal template.
A proposal isn’t just a written document outlining what you’ll do for your client. It’s a well-structured sales letter that must persuade the prospect and earn their trust.
A killer proposal includes a summary of the problems, what life would look like without them, what you’ll do to eliminate the problem, your offers, and a CTA which promotes urgency.
There’s also a FREE proposal template that you can use to craft killer proposals!