In a recent publication by Geek Wire, it was reported that Amazon rejected all 11 annual meeting proposals including employee-backed climate plan.

What does this tell you about the success rate of proposals? Many proposals are rejected daily and because writing a proposal sap lots of energy from the writer, the rejection of a proposal can have a detrimental effect on the psyche of the writer and the stakeholders.

As an entrepreneur, there will be moments during your journey where you’d have to develop proposals that will help you advance your business goals.

Examples of such proposals could be trying to partner with another business, trying to gain the business of a prospect, trying to upgrade a current customer, etc. To increase your chances of writing a winning proposal and getting a “yes” from the recipient, here are 5 proven tips that can help!

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Keep it Short and Simple: Many times, in a bid to impress the recipient, many entrepreneurs attempt to write proposals are unnecessarily long. As an entrepreneur who desires to write a winning proposal, your goal should be to be as detailed as much as you can without the filler content. It is okay for your proposal to be short and straight to the point.

Try to avoid the use of vague terms or words that require the use of a dictionary.   Keep in mind that your recipient is likely a busy person and when your proposal is too long, the chances of sweeping it under the carpet is very high.

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Use a catchy and systematic design: Writing a winning proposal requires that you catch the attention of your prospects. You might be tempted to use the good old Microsoft word but if you want to win over your prospect, consider using catchy and systematic design.

Include diagrams, charts, organograms, if possible. Make your proposal interesting by using a powerpoint or keynote. Use images where appropriate to buttress your point. A catchy and systematic design prevents your prospects from skimming through your proposal.

Focus on the benefit to the prospect: If you want to write a winning proposal, you must focus on the benefit to the prospect. Your prospect is asking “What’s in it for me?” If your proposal does not clearly state what’s in it for the prospect, you will not get a deal.

Offer no more than three options: Writing a winning proposal means that the prospect will buy into your idea. In buying into your idea, you need to give your prospect options to choose from. As a rule of the thumb, offer no more than three options.

Anything more than three options means that your prospect has more options to choose from and this can lead to confusion and frustration. To minimize confusion, embrace the power of three. Most people will remember up to three options vividly.

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Make the contract process a breeze: Once your prospect has bought into your idea, the next step is to make the contract process a breeze. Do not try to over-complicate things or make the process a tedious one. Instead, be prepared to answer questions and more importantly, be prepared to sign the contract as soon as you can.

If you follow these 5 tips while also embracing the spirit of excellence, you are on your way to creating winning proposals.

How do you create winning proposals? Kindly share below in the comments.

Thank you for reading.

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If tomorrow, you meet Bill Gates in the elevator or get a call from Warren Buffet asking you to pitch your business, will you know what to say?

In business, there’s nothing as sweet and as magical as when you have the opportunity to present your business to someone and you’re able to describe what you do with so much clarity that causes the other party to take action.

I don’t know about you but when I first started Onpoint Success, I had trouble explaining how exactly I could help small business owners succeed. I knew what I was doing. However, finding the right words that will make others take action was so difficult. It got to a stage whereby when people ask me “so what is Onpoint Success all about?”, I just respond by saying, “you won’t understand” or I look for other ways to end the conversation as quickly as possible. Then a few months later, I enrolled in a training themed “Effective Presentations” in which I learned about the art of pitching. Since then, I have committed myself to learn how to perfect my pitching skills.

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As a business owner who wants to build a profitable brand, you must commit to continuous improvement and one of such improvement is being able to capture the attention of your audience at any given time.  You don’t know when opportunity will come knocking so you have to be prepared. I remember in 2016 during a conference I attended with some top sale experts, I earned a standing ovation for the best pitch/introduction. We were asked to introduce ourselves, our business and what we do and through that opportunity landed a deal to train employees at an organization.

That leads me to the question, if you meet Bill Gates in an elevator or you get a call from Warren Buffet asking you what your business is all about, will you be able to describe with clarity while also using the keywords that will allow them to gain deep insights as to what you do?

As a small business owner, one of the ways you can prepare yourself ahead of opportunities and building a profitable brand is by being able to communicate what your business is about with clarity to other people.

How do you introduce yourself to others when they ask you “what do you do?” or when they say “tell me more about your business”? Do you just introduce yourself randomly without coherence or are you being intentional about it?  Do your pitch make you stand out?

Let me work you through the steps.

First, there are majorly two types of pitches namely short-form and long -form. Short-forms are pitches that are usually 2 minutes or less while long forms are greater than 2 minutes. Whether you are developing short-form or long-form, the most important thing is for you to include pertinent details that will strike a chord in the person you are pitching to.

[Read: Dreaming of a Website? Here’s How to Create One in 5 Minutes or Less]

When you develop your pitch, include your name, the name of your business and describe what your business does.

When I teach my clients how to describe their business to others, I recommend taking the following steps:

For short-form pitch:

a. State your name and the name of your business

b. State your target audience

c. State the need you identified in your target audience and how your business will solve the pain they currently experience

d. State the SPECIFIC benefit(s) your target audience will gain as a result of doing business with you.

*Please note I highlighted the word SPECIFIC. The more specific you are, the higher the chances of getting a callback, an appointment, and the deal.

A type of a short form pitch is an elevator pitch which is usually pegged at 30 seconds. In 30 seconds, you must clearly state the pertinent details of your business.

For long-form pitches, you include everything in your short-form pitch and then delve into more details about the following:

a. why you started the business (you need to support this with concrete facts if you are pitching to investors or potential partners

b. state how you are different from the competition

c. describe the channels through you make money or intend to make money from the business

d. describe how you communicate or will communicate with your target audience

e. share your summarized financial projections or how you intend to become profitable

 

Lastly, don’t forget an opportunity most times don’t give advance notice of when, where, and how. It can meet you at the mall, in the cafeteria, on a plane or even while using an ATM machine. It can come at any time of the day and the least you can do is to be prepared. Also, remember to bring your business cards with you everywhere you go because sometimes all you have to connect with someone is 5 seconds.  And in such cases, your business cards though small can be the difference between barely surviving and greatly thriving.

 

Thanks for reading! Did you learn anything from reading this article? What other ways can one develop or prepare a pitch? Leave a comment below and remember to share this post with a friend.