By Goke Ilesanmi
Last week, we discussed the concept of creative approach to entrepreneurial empowerment. We stressed that contrary to the academic notion that successful entrepreneurship begins with possession of viable and innovative ideas, it logically starts with having entrepreneurial or millionaire mentality, followed by having a core desire and identifying one’s specific entrepreneurial personality before considering possession of viable ideas.
The fact must be stressed that for your business to survive or thrive, you need to do a lot of marketing. One of the potent ways of empowering your business by proactively attracting customers is by writing unsolicited persuasive business proposals. It is like creating job opening for yourself through unsolicited application letter reinforced with combined chronological functional curriculum vitae as educated in the Monday, October 28, 2013 edition.
Communicating your uniqueness
If your service or product is the best in your industry, you need to communicate your uniqueness to the target customers in a way that relates to the specific needs of such customers, especially through proposals. Proposals help you explain financial terms and procedures to your prospective customers to avoid misunderstanding down the road. Complete proposals offer details and help you land great business. A persuasive business proposal is the one customised for one recipient. It cannot be transferred to another person or organisation. This is because you have to establish your credibility by highlighting specific information about every organisation you are writing to. Examples of these pieces of information are the organisation’s year of commencement of operation, management structure, mission statement, vision statement, values, achievements so far, etc. That is why this type of non-transferable and potent proposal naturally elicits action from recipients.
An effective and persuasive business proposal clearly identifies the consumers’ problem, need or issue, and recommends a solution. It backs up your proposed solution with a discussion of the capabilities of your business as well as market research related to the proposal. It shows that your experience puts you ahead of the competition. The way you present your business in this proposal will shape the success or failure of all future relationships with target customers.
To earn their respect and attention, your proposal must show that you have a keen understanding of the prospective customers’ needs. You need to focus on the fact that your business is very well-equipped to handle their needs in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Therefore, make the time investment—conduct research to have full understanding of the nature and scope of the customers’ requirements, then, present your ideas in a manner that convinces them that your product or service represents the best possible solution.
Challenges and results
Though writing an effective and persuasive business proposal is challenging, you have to consider the valuable benefits to your business. The effort you make in tailoring the proposals to prospects’ specific needs shows the level of service they will receive from you. And your prospects or target customers are bound to notice that extra effort. To get started with your personalised proposal, you will need to understand the basic formats and components. Before you write, determine what the overall message of your proposal will be.
Stating the theme or the reason for the proposal helps to ensure that your proposal will be sent to the appropriate personnel. The theme should be one of the first things that your prospect sees. The headline clearly persuades the prospect regarding the reason for the proposal. An appropriate theme might describe how your product (or service) will enable the client to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Or better still, it must communicate benefits to the prospect or recipient, e.g., “Multiplying your school’s profitability and popularity through our exceptional career seminar.” This headline communicates benefits to the recipient. It is better than writing “Proposal for exceptional career seminar”. This headline communicates no clear benefits to the recipient and sounds self-centred.
More on persuasive headings
Effective headings are very critical to the success of our proposals. This is because we have just some minutes or even seconds to grab the attention of our prospects and sustain their interest to keep reading. Headings are the first thing the prospects read. Findings show that four out of five people decide whether they keep reading to learn about your products and/or services on the basis of your headings. Do your headings capture your prospects’ attention or discourage them? Are your headings prompting prospects to learn about your products and/or services or throw away your letter?
In seeking contracts, for instance, you win business when your proposal persuades clients or prospects that your solution is superior to your competitors’. Your proposal will persuade the reader if you understand a client’s or prospect’s needs, show the benefits, make a firm, clear recommendations accompanied by action steps and give the reader technical and other supporting details that highlight your qualifications and competence to deliver the solution on time, on budget and to specification. The effectiveness of a proposal is not judged by its volume but based solely on the value you bring to the table. When you do your initial presentation, that is part of your proposal. When you meet your prospects for the first time, shake hands and talk, that is part of the proposal. When you start listening and asking questions, that is part of the proposal.
Beyond commitment to entrepreneurial goals, effective corporate leadership, personal entrepreneurial accountability, persuasion and interpersonal relationship, you can enhance your business, achieve profitability and stay ahead of competition through effective and persuasive business proposals that will easily make you control your business destiny through a proactive approach.
PS: For those making inquiries about our Public Speaking, Business Presentation and Professional Writing Skills programme, please visit the website indicated on this page for details.
GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Certified Public Speaker/MC, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker and Career Management Coach. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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