What Is a Sales Proposal?

A sales proposal is a written document that presents what your product or service can offer to your clients. It highlights how your client’s business can benefit from your product or service. In a nutshell, it is a sales pitch that tells the client what you can do for them, and what they can get from availing of your product or service.

Your product and service sales proposal can either make or break your business. It is one of your gateway to more clients, and yes, more sales, conversions, and revenues.

When a busy client takes the time to read your sales proposal, does it immediately make him or her want to avail of your product or service? If you answered yes, then good job! Otherwise, you should take a hard look at your proposal, and make the necessary changes. But, you may have been asking yourself, where do you begin? Don’t worry – we got you covered. Let’s go through the definition and components of a sales proposal, so you can start producing client-winning proposals on the right foot.

50+ Sample Sales Proposals [Analysis, Market, Jobs]

Difference between a sales proposal and a sales contract

You might be wondering what’s the difference between a sales proposal and a sales contract? These two documents look quite similar but are different from each other in terms of contents and goal. A sales proposal presents your product or service to the client and the specifics of your business engagement. On the other hand, a sales contract is a legally binding mutual agreement between the two parties. The sales contract usually follows after your client has accepted your sales proposal.

If you’re looking for a sales contract template, we have an extensive library of templates for a wide range of businesses. You can see these templates by clicking on this link.

How to Prepare a Compelling Product and Service Sales Proposal

Before writing a sales proposal, you must research about the client and their business. You must understand what their business is, and the issues and challenges they face. Only by knowing your client can you tailor your sales proposal to the client, in a way that speaks to them. Your sales proposal must be able to respond to the questions or objections they have in mind, and let them see that your product or service is the solution that they need.

According to Tom Sant in his book entitled “ Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win More Customers, Clients, and Contracts”, a proposal must be able to satisfy seven (7) fundamental questions, which we will discuss in detail.

Step 1: Know the client’s problem.

What are the problems your clients are facing that you can help with? Does your client have a need for your product or service that they’re looking to fill? Write down the issues or problems of your clients, and match your product or service as the solution to each of these problems, issues, or challenges.

Step 2: Pinpoint the root cause of the problem and showcase your product or service as the solution

What’s the root cause of the problem? Why does your client see it as a problem? Knowing more about the problems your clients are facing will help you understand your clients better, and better showcase your product or service as the solution in your sales proposal.

Step 3: Identify the expected outcomes and goals of your client

What are the milestones that your client wants to achieve? And how can your product or service help him achieve this milestone? Your sales proposal must answer these questions. You must elaborate on your proposal why your product or service is the solution that they need so that they can achieve their goal or objective

Step 4: Identify the most important outcome

What is the most important outcome for your client? How will you help them achieve this outcome? Considering that your client will have a lot of business goals, what is the most important outcome that you can help him with when he engages in business with you?

Step 5: Identify the potential solutions

What are the potential solutions by your product or service? Identify these solutions that can be provided by your product or service in your sales proposal.

Step 6: Outline the probable results

How can the client’s business benefit from your product or service? It should be clear in your sales proposal from the get-go what are the probable results of engaging business with you. Make a sales proposal outline that will serve as a guide or reference when you’re making the proposal.

Step 7: Show why the client should choose your product or service

Why should your client choose you among the many other options he or she has? What can you offer that others cannot? What are the benefits that you can offer to the client that others won’t be able to?  Your sales proposal must answer these questions that your clients will have in mind. Your sales proposal must be able to present your products or service well — its features, benefits, value, and advantages. You should be able to present your product or service as a cost-efficient and effective solution to your client’s needs.

Basic components of an effective sales proposal

Cover page – The sales proposal must begin with a title and an introduction, which indicates your company’s information such as the name of your company, office address, telephone number, email address, and name of the sales representative or business owner. You must be able to properly indicate the business name and the name of the client that you wish to engage in business with.
Executive Summary – The Executive summary contains a description of the product or service to be purchased, benefits of the product/service and what makes it a cut above the rest, why should the client buy the product or service, and why should they choose to work with your company, and not your competitors.
Company Background – Introduce your company and the product or service that you offer. You can also put the mission, vision, and goals of your business. Tell the client what makes your business stand out. Share the track record and the accomplishments of your company. Here, you will subtly promote your company. You can also put client testimonials that show the results they have achieved through your product or service.
Project Details – In the succeeding sections of your proposal, you will expound more on the details of your engagement with the client, and the terms and conditions of the project. In this section, talk about what you have to offer, and the benefits it will bring to clients and their business. Explain what your product and service is — its features, benefits, and advantages. Use images of your product or service. You can also include client testimonials, positive reviews, and case studies that show the positive results that your product or service can bring to the table.
Timeline – Your proposal must describe in detail what products or services can the client avail of when they decide to take your offer. Indicate the delivery of and the duration of the provision of your product or service in the proposal. You should indicate the dates, specifically the start of the project, and the estimated project completion. If you’re selling a product, you must specify whether you’re selling it on a per piece or subscription basis.
Expected Output and Implementation – You must put the expected output or deliverables from you, as well as the date for each milestone or project schedule. You can also put it in table form so that it is clear and understandable. Expound on the technical details of the project. You can also state the objectives of the project. State the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will serve as a gauge of the effectiveness of your product or service. Include the methodology, manner of delivery, and the timeframe of the project.
Pricing or Budget – Your product and service sales proposal must also present complete and comprehensive pricing of your product and service. To make it more presentable, show the project cost in a pricing table, you must also indicate the payment terms, especially if the client would need to pay on a project basis, or a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. Since we’re talking about money here, it must be that every transaction is black and white or accounted for. Indicate the cost breakdown for the project undertaking, such as but not limited to Labor; Machinery and Equipment; IT Software and/or Hardware, Computers/Equipment; Product/service Cost; Marketing Costs, including Advertising; Training; Delivery Costs; and, other fees.
Closing – The closing element of the proposal is an important part of the sales process. Here you will have a call to action for the client. The final pages of the proposal can have a signature line for the client to accept the proposal, and a checkbox to approve of the project, to name a few.

Tips on creating an effective sales proposal

Highlight what you can offer in the proposal. You must show them why they should choose to do business with you, and not your competitors. Highlight your track record and accomplishments.
Tailor your sales proposal to the client. Your product sales proposal or service sales proposal must also be customized to the needs of your client.
Show how your product or service can solve their problems. Research thoroughly what issues and challenges they face, especially those that will affect or hamper their sales. Show how your product or service can solve these challenges that will result in more sales and business growth. In other words, focus on the solutions that your company can bring to clients.
Show results. Show concrete results of what your product or service can bring by sharing testimonials from your clients. Use videos and pictures that will show not just what your business can offer, but also the positive results attained by your clients from your product or service.
Make sure that your sales proposal design looks professional and clean. Design is also the key to a sales proposal that converts. Your sales proposal must make the client want to do business with you. Of course, you can’t do it with a sloppily-designed proposal that looks like someone just threw it out of nowhere. Your sales proposal design should be professionally-designed that clients can trust you immediately. There are tons of professionally-designed sales proposal templates that you can easily customize depending on your business.
Refer to a Sample Sales Proposal Template. As you can see, you don’t have to start from scratch, especially if you’re a beginner. When you don’t have any idea of where to start, it can get overwhelming. But, don’t fret! You can easily pick up one of our sample sales proposal templates that can serve as your guide when you’re making a sales proposal.
Add a Cover letter. Make it more personalized by including a cover letter addressed to your client or the business owner, attached to the sales proposal.
Be professional. Your product and service sales proposal must be written professionally. It should be sincere and result-oriented. Don’t put superfluous words, and don’t fill it with jargons that can’t be understood by the general public.
Put yourself in the shoes of your client. Personalized your sales proposal to the business of your client that it speaks to them.

Dos and Don’ts

There are things that you need to keep in mind when you’re making a sales proposal. Here, we’ll outline some of the dos and don’ts to guide you when you’re making a sales proposal.

Here are some of the to-do’s when you are making a sales proposal.

Do present your product or service well, and in detail. It should be clear what your product or service is, what it does or accomplishes, and what are the benefits and advantages it offers.
Do write a sales proposal that will professionally represent your company.
Do make sure that your proposal is grammatically correct, readable, coherent, and comprehensive.
Do use a sales proposal template or sample sales proposal as a guide and reference.
Do think about the client when you’re making the sales proposal.
Do tailor your sales proposal according to the client’s needs and preferences.
Do put the cost of your product or service.
Do put a timeline of the delivery of your product or service.
Do indicate the disclaimers, licensing, and warranties if applicable in your proposal.
Do indicate what the client needs to agree on to start doing business with you.
Do be professional in dealing with your client, and answer the questions they have in mind.
Do position yourself as an industry leader, not a salesperson.
Do use images of your product in your sales proposal.
Do use client testimonials, case studies, and positive reviews that show your product or service can deliver results. 

Meanwhile, here are some of the things you shouldn’t do when you’re making a sales proposal.

Don’t lie about anything in your sales proposal. Be transparent and honest in your proposal.
Don’t put jargons that only a specialist of your field can understand.
Don’t leave out any essential information about your product or service.

Sales Proposal FAQs

Here are two of the frequently asked questions about sales proposals.

How do you write an effective sales proposal?

To write an effective sales proposal, always focus on the client. Keep the sales proposal direct and on point. Put down all your winning cards in the sales proposal. Answer the doubts and objections in your client’s mind. Be the solution that they need.

What is the purpose of a sales proposal?

The purpose of the sales proposal is to present and explain your product or service to your prospective client. Its purpose is to pitch your product or service in a way that makes the client to avail of it. It’s also presented in a more formal and professional manner compared to an email or text message. It also contains almost everything a client needs to do business with you, such as detailed features of your product or service, options, cost or budget, clauses, and licenses or warranties.

Sales Proposal Template

Are you tired of the thought of drafting sales proposals from scratch? If you answered “yes,” we got your back! We’ve prepared sales proposal samples that you can draw inspiration from. Plus you can download these sales proposal samples for free in one click!

Plus, you can easily grab a premium sales proposal template that got everything you need. These free sales proposal templates are easily customizable to fit your needs and business. By having a ready-made sales proposal template, you can focus more on your message, finding clients and leads, and closing more deals. These are just some of the things you have to keep in consideration when you’re making a sales proposal. As always, the most important thing is to start writing, and creating a winning sales proposal. Grab a sales proposal template for inspiration, and to get you going. You can also save this article so you can refer to it time and time again.