When you wrote your first sales proposal, you probably grabbed an existing company template, or something you used before, made some adjustments, added what you needed, and sent it off. The next time, you took what you did the time before, edited it, and repeated the process. The next time you decided you should really flush out the “About Us” section, add more details about the customer so they would know that you know their business, and include answers to questions about your services that the last prospect raised. (Good thing you did that thorough post-mortem.)

Over time, your proposals get bloated. Each one includes (almost) everything that any past prospect might have possibly wanted. (You also end up with a huge variety of “official” templates, and no one really knows which one(s) to use next. But that problem is easy to solve.) So what’s so bad about this?

  • It takes longer to go through and make changes for each proposal. Sometimes changes don’t get made at all, leaving extraneous or even erroneous content in your proposal.
  • It takes your prospect longer to read your proposal.
  • It makes it harder for your prospect to understand your proposal.

Who’s going to sign a proposal they don’t understand. To make it easier to close the deal, make your proposals as short as possible (but no shorter). Think of your proposal as a Hollywood screen play (OK, hopefully it’s better than that, but you get the idea). Every scene, every line of dialogue is there to advance the story. Every word in your proposal is there to close the sale. Get rid of words, phrases, sentences, even whole sections that don’t advance that goal. (Remember to take out adverbs.) Don’t include your prospect’s company history– only the aspects that are relevant to your project.

Note that you can include a lot of material in your template(s), as long as you are diligent and efficient about removing the parts you don’t need from certain proposals. If you go through this exercise, let me know how much material you cut out and what results you got.

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