How to Create a Persuasive Proposal for Your Professional Services Company

blog-bannerOct 7, 2020

Creating a stunning proposal is super critical if you want to successfully close a deal. Especially in a professional services company where every project is unique and a lot more nuanced, proposals contain key details regarding scope of work, deliverables, terms and conditions etc. This vital piece of document is not only the most potent tool for sales closure but also for project success. 

However, the bad news is, Statistics suggest that 35% of the business proposals are not read past the first page. This means if your proposal is among this 35%, then you either lose the deal or onboard a customer who has not read and understood all the details of the project. Both equally dreadful! 

Hence, the proposal must be drafted in such a way that it engages the clients to read ahead.

A well-structured proposal should offer information, establish authority, and present your offerings precisely. 

So, in this article, we will dive into this exciting aspect of the professional services business, which is about creating a persuasive proposal. We will first understand what a proposal is. Then we will discuss the 10 best practices of formulating a proposal that converts. 

Don’t worry, we will also talk about the platform through which you can generate your proposals quickly.

What is a Proposal?

For a professional services company, almost each prospect has a unique requirement. Their needs are different; their expectations are different. Hence, to provide a productive guide to what can be expected from your services to each of the prospects/customers, proposals are extremely crucial.

Catering to a B2B model, a proposal constitutes more information about the services than just financial estimates; like the scope of work, timeline, and other crucial details. So, you can say that a proposal is a detailed outline of services and solutions offered to the client, specific to their needs. Hence it is tailored to meet the individual business demands.

It is extremely critical to create an impressive proposal. Furthermore, your competitors are also in the game trying their best to win over the customer. It is your proposal that can instantly attract them and set your business apart.

Tips to Create a Persuasive Proposal

Your proposal is the most significant business document. This means you have to structure it so perfectly that it instantly persuades your prospect/customers into extending their conversation with you until you’ve won the deal.

So, let’s understand these 10 amazing tips to make sure you can totally ace the art of creating amazing proposals.

1. Identify and Define the Objective

To create a persuasive proposal, you first need to identify your objectives. After this you have to define the objective, which can be done in multiple ways; as a “business need” or as an “objective” itself. But it must provide a thorough insight into the initial aim of the proposal.

Hence, the definition of the main objective placed at the beginning determines the entire tone of the proposal. This makes it extremely important for you to highlight the pain-points that you are looking at solving or the aspirations you are catering to. Remind the prospect in clear terms that they can achieve with the solution you are offering.

2. Offer Information about Your Company

In a B2B framework, there are multiple stakeholders behind a single decision. Also, there are multiple areas on which the proposal will be weighed on.

Hence, it is very essential for your clients to have enough information about your company to understand your business’s credibility.

As a company, it is important to highlight points such as how long have you been in this industry? How many people do you have in your team? What are your expertise and experience concerning the area of the work? The number of clients availing of your services? What are your credentials?

These points are crucial for a professional services company’s business transactions.

So, if you do not disclose the necessary information in the proposal itself, your prospect company will think that you do not have enough credentials or they will ask about your company details. This will further lengthen your sales cycle, complicating the entire business process.

In the worst case, if they do not have enough information about your company, then they might simply opt-out and go ahead with other proposals offered by your competitors, who might have clearly outlined their company details.

So, talk about your business in the proposal clearly, to establish authority, and to make sure that your prospect/customer has sufficient information to make a positive action. 

You can possibly include a small introduction about your company and the journey so far. Here’s how we do it at GoldenLion.

Company information in proposal

Company information in proposal

3. Tonality

Having a professional services company, you must maintain a consistent tone while presenting vital information in your proposal. If the tonality is super casual or constantly fluctuates between the formal and informal style of writing, this will send out an amateurish vibe about your company. We certainly don’t want that, do we?

Also, you must have these 3 points in mind while determining the tonality:

  • Formal/Semi-formal/Casual: Depending on your business, you can modify the tonality to meet the image that you identify your brand with. For instance, if you have a more corporate approach to your business, your proposal can be formal. But if you have a friendly brand persona, then possibly the tonality of the proposal can be semi-formal or casual. Also, the tonality will depend on the relationship that your company has with the customer.
  • Always Be Positive: The tonality you are using in your writing has to be positive. So, instead of presenting your proposal with words that might sound negative, try to have a more positive style of approaching the sentences.
  • Use Active Voice as Much Possible: This is important, as passive voice can make the proposal appear non-direct and non-engaging. Using passive tones in your writing style can unconsciously put people into a passive mental frame, which is not ideal to crack a sales deal. Hence, whenever you communicate more actively in your proposal, your clients can better relate to what you have to say and can be prompted to take action. A proposal embedded with a tonality that is more active can engage the clients, giving them a clearer perception.

4. Define Scope of Work

Unless you define the scope of work clearly, your proposal is of no value and will not procure the intended result. You can say that the scope of work is the key element of a proposal.

So, you must break-down the scope of work to present a detailed structure of your solution.

For instance, if your client asks you to build a website, you start by breaking the scope of work. 

Hence, you first discuss the website design. Then you talk about the number of pages that the website will contain, site structure, specifications of the design, timeline needed to complete the design. You also detail out the requirements provided by the clients to complete the design work. Finally, to elaborate more, you disintegrate it further by talking about the backend development; the technology used for it, and its components.

So, incorporating the scope of work in the proposal is critical because it keeps on granulating all the points, making the work process simple and transparent for your prospects/customers to understand better.

Here’s an example of how you can possibly detail out the scope of work for a website building project.

The scope of work in proposal

The scope of work in proposal

The scope of work in proposal

5. Define the Timeline

Providing an estimated timeline regarding the services is also very important.

An experienced company is aware of the timeline needed to complete a particular task. Hence, if you do not provide the approximate time needed to complete the service, then your clients might end up questioning your expertise and experience. 

Another reason is that if you do not provide a timeline, then your clients will come to you asking about it, which will prolong the sales cycle.

In either way, both of these outcomes are not ideal for your business. So, make sure to provide a well-outlined timeline.

6. Use Pictures/Diagrams if Possible

I am pretty sure you do not enjoy reading a document which only comprises texts and has no pictures. 

It is just the same with a crucial business document like a sales proposal because your business document needs to make your clients feel engaged.

Plus diagrams and pictures are really captivating ways to showcase all the information more interactively and animatedly. 1 picture accompanied by 100 words will make the proposal interesting to read.

So, if you are creating a proposal, you can include solution diagrams, pictures of your products, even mind maps are excellent ways to present vital information.

With images, pictures, maps, and other diagrams incorporated, your proposals will become captivating to your prospect/customer.  

Especially, in a solution-oriented company, you have to provide sufficient details, concisely. Hence diagrams like flow-chart, mind-maps can make your proposal look stunning and effective.

Here’s a solution diagram for a standard B2B sales process. You can create similar main-maps or data-flow diagrams similar to this that capture the essence of your solution in a pictorial manner.

Diagrams in proposal

7. Include the Financials

Financial details are always important, primarily one of the key factors behind striking a deal. Financial budgeting has to be accurate, competitive, and clearly detailed.

Make sure to keep track of the budget that your competitors are providing for the same services. Plan accordingly and clearly show the pricing for each service provided by your company.

If your charges are on an hourly basis, make sure you provide the details accordingly.

8. Establish Credibility through Testimonies and Case Studies

Testimonies are an excellent way to showcase your capability as a service provider.  These feedbacks come directly from your customers, who have availed of your services. Hence, this makes testimonies effective in establishing credibility and authority.

Even case-studies are a powerful source of exhibiting credibility, as it details the entire journey that the customer has with the company. Authentic stories narrated by the buyers can easily convince the reader of its genuineness and indirectly create a connection with the company.

You can either add the link to your website Testimonial page or add the testimonies right into the CRM.

9. Define Terms and Conditions

Make sure that you properly define the terms and conditions. Being a professional services company, you are mostly working with other businesses which are legal entities.

So your proposal must incorporate all the terms and conditions which will not only hedge the risk for your business, but also make the transaction transparent.

10. Aesthetics

Finally, your proposal must look aesthetically pleasing.

Honestly, this point is often overlooked while drafting a proposal. It might seem insignificant, but in reality, plays a very significant role.

So, make sure your proposal looks stunning. Some points to keep in mind here:

  • Do not use a lot of different colors while drafting the document. 
  • You must maintain the same set of fonts throughout, following the text hierarchy. 
  • The graphics used must be of high quality and not pixelated. So, make the proposal pleasing to the eyes.
  • All the elements should be placed strategically to present a professional yet engaging face.

How to Create a Captivating Proposal within Minutes

You must be wondering that drafting a proposal while addressing all these points, meticulously, might make the proposal generation process time-consuming.

Well, you are wrong!

With Zoho One applications, you can generate a proposal in less than 10 minutes. 

Let me show you what you need and how you can generate a proposal via Zoho One applications.

1. Use a Template

As you already know that a professional services company has to deal with unique service requests from different buyers. In that case, it is extremely difficult and time-consuming to generate separate proposals for each prospect/customer.

Hence, using a template will make your life easy as you can generate different proposals for different buyers instantly, without much ado.  

Also, with templates, your design and aesthetics are automatically taken care of.

2. Make Sure to Tailor the Template  

As all the business opportunities are different, it is crucial for you to tailor the template in accordance with the business need.

You can use the template to save some time, but you cannot use the same template everywhere. You have to edit it based on the individual service you are providing to the particular business.

In that way, the effort put in giving personal attention to all clients is visible and the proposal makes sense to whoever is receiving.

3. Automate Part of Your Proposal Generation

If you can automate a part of your proposal generation then you can quickly create the proposal with accurate details outlined on it.

With an integrated Zoho One system in place, you can use Zoho Writer to create a beautiful proposal temple and then pull in the data from your Zoho CRM system to put together a proposal in a jiffy. All you have to do is to click on a button. And bam! You have data pulled from CRM record level, put into your proposal template in a completely editable format.

Sending proposals via Zoho CRM

Once you’ve edited your proposal and are ready to send it to your prospect, you can share the same via Zoho Sign or other e-signature tools that integrate with Zoho.

E-signature integrated with Zoho CRM

All done without leaving your Zoho One system!

Conclusion

Proposals are a very important element of business communication. Hence it is of utmost importance that your proposals are mind-blowing and instantly attract the right clients. 

Also, proposals are like mirrors reflecting the company’s image. Hence, this is the reason many clients judge the company’s ability to provide flawless services through a simple proposal.

So, make your proposals a brilliant representation of your company’s authority over the skills that you are professing.

Moreover, you must also be punctual and quick with the proposals that you sent to the client. 

Hence, with Zoho One applications you can totally meet individual expectations by quickly generating an automated proposal that is tailored to the individual clients.

So, if you are looking for ways to generate stunning proposals via the Zoho One applications, then it is time for an expert consultation!