Have you ever spent hours pouring over a business proposal only to find that your efforts are in vain? You may have pitched your product to a company and had a “great conversation” only to find out that they weren’t that interested in your product after all. Maybe you’re even experienced with this scenario as you’ve been through it multiple times yourself. When this happens, it’s incredibly frustrating and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. You’ve worked hard on that proposal and you feel like you’ve offered something good, but the deal seems to fall through at the final moment.
As a business owner, marketer, or sales professional, you may be familiar with the pain point I’m describing. It’s extremely frustrating when you invest a lot of effort into a proposal and it doesn’t work out as you’d hoped. Sometimes it’s because the proposal was poorly written or presented. Other times it could be that the timing was off or that the business didn’t see the value in your product. Whatever the case may be, it’s always a bummer when a proposal you’ve worked hard on doesn’t work out. That’s why it’s important to learn how to write a winning proposal.
So, how can you ensure that your proposal will be accepted and result in a meeting with the company you’re pitching to? You can start by taking into consideration what the company is looking for. What are they interested in? What are their needs? What are their goals? By learning about the company’s interests, you will be able to craft a pitch that they will find useful. Moreover, knowing more about the company can also help you determine if this is the right business for you and your product. Sometimes you might find that there’s a discrepancy between what the company is looking for and what you offer. For example, they may be seeking a vendor that can provide a specific service while you have developed a product that can perform that function. It’s also possible that they’re seeking a vendor that is a fit with their corporate culture while you’re an independent business owner seeking to grow your own company.
Define Your Audience
When you are writing your business proposal, it’s important to define your audience. Who are you writing this pitch for? What group of people will be interested in your product? Will your product be useful to somebody? The answers to these questions will help you determine how you should approach this pitch. As an entrepreneur who has been pitching for clients for over a decade, I have found that having a clear vision of who my audience is and what they want helps me craft a pitch that they will understand and find useful. A smart entrepreneur will look beyond the obvious when seeking to define their audience and instead try to identify the hidden needs of their customers. After all, if they can’t find the needs of their customers, then their product won’t be useful to them and they won’t buy it.
Match Your Pitch To The Media Channel
When I was first getting started in the industry, I did a lot of broadcast journalism. I interviewed subject matter experts and got to ask questions about trending topics. It was a great way to educate myself about the fields I was entering while also making money online. From that experience, I learned that you should match your pitch to the media channel. So, if you’re writing for a radio station, you should pitch your product on radio.
The key is to find the medium most likely to resonate with your audience. For example, if you’re writing for a website or YouTube channel that’s highly interactive, then you might want to consider using video content to drive engagement. The match between your pitch and the media channel will help you determine the tone and approach of your pitch. Moreover, matching your pitch to the media channel will also help you find the right buyers for your product. The more you know about the market, the more you can tailor your offer to be of value to that audience. It’s also a good idea to make sure that your target audience is as up to date as possible on a variety of topics relating to your industry. This helps you establish credibility when pitching your product. Your prospective customers will respect you more if they perceive that you know you stuff.
Craft An Outline
An outline is incredibly helpful when writing a business proposal. It allows you to break down the content of your proposal into separate sections and create a structure for your document. Moreover, creating an outline doesn’t mean that you have to stick to it word-for-word, but it can help you ensure that you don’t forget anything important when writing. I usually start by creating a header for my outline and then work my way through the various topics I want to cover. It’s also helpful to create a master list of the content you need to cover in order to create the perfect proposal. Having all of this content organized into one place makes it much easier to write. When I’m using the Outline app, I like to take into account the time that I have available to write. If I know that I only have an hour and a half to write up the proposal, then I will create a list of the most important points I need to cover within that time period. I will then go through each of these points and weave in supporting data as I go along.
Research The Company
After you’ve defined your audience and matched your pitch to the media channel, the next step is to do some research. Who are they? Where do they come from? What are their interests and hobbies? All of these are important information points that can help you in your research. There are a few great tools that can help you find the answers you need. You can use Google to search the company’s name along with any related terms (e.g., “Sears Holdings,” a company you’ve never heard of, may turn up information about their merger with KMart). You can also look at their Google page to get an idea of what the public knows about the company. If their Google page is well-built and includes information about the products they sell as well as customer testimonials, then this is a good indication that they are a reputable company.
Organize Your Thoughts
Organizing your thoughts is extremely important when writing a business proposal. No matter how well you think you’ll write, your proposal will never come close to being interesting enough to read if you haven’t organized your thoughts. This is why a good business proposal requires a lot of brainstorming and editing. When you’re starting to write, it’s a good idea to write down all of the points you can think of relating to your industry. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one idea as you’ll have plenty of room to write down all of the points you can think of. Once you have all of these ideas written down, it’s time to start editing. First, go through each of the points and edit for grammatical errors. Second, arrange your ideas into a logical sequence. Third, determine the specific value your product will bring to the table. Fourth, connect the dots between your product and the interests of your audience by creating a story that will pull it all together. Finally, proofread and edit before you send off your proposal.
When it comes to business proposals, there’s a lot of guesswork that goes into it. You’ve got an idea in your head of what your product is and how it will benefit somebody, but it’s almost impossible to know if that idea will be understood by the person you’re writing for. To help you out, I’ve put together a short guide for how to write a business proposal that will get you a meeting.