When developing materials to be used for your sales and marketing efforts review your work with the eyes of your prospects.
Many of my clients have worked in their businesses for years and think about things from the “provider perspective,” which makes perfect sense. However, this can trip up their process of creating compelling sales and marketing materials, because they no longer clearly see things from their buyers’ points of view.
Recently a Managed Services company I was working with developed a template for their proposals. They asked me to review it because they had been using it for a while and felt it was not as effective as it could be in conveying their benefits.
Upon review of the proposal, the copy was very heavy, provided lots of features they delivered in paragraph form, in a highly technical language that was great for IT industry people, but less so for the average, non-technical business owner. Putting myself in the shoes of the potential customer, I dreaded having to read through so much information which appeared to be very technical and over my head. If it was this hard to do business with them in the proposal stage, what would it be like to work with them? Even more over my head?
I reviewed the document with my client and every time they listed the information about the services or products they provided, I asked, “So, what does this mean for me? Why should I care? Say this to me like I am a completely new to computers.” They gave me the benefits that would help their prospects realize why the items outlined in the proposal provided an offering that would make their jobs and lives easier, more efficient and more profitable.
I reworked the proposal by changing the paragraphs of information into a bullet format that used non-technical language and listed the feature and then, in bold face, the benefit. I made sure to include what made this company unique and a superior choice among its competition. This process took out pages worth of copy, making the proposal easier to read through and everything written had a benefit tied to it.
Six months later, the proposal came up in discussion. The client mentioned that since they had changed to the shorter, easier to read format outlined above, they regularly received compliments on their proposals from their prospects, stating that theirs was the easiest to understand and get through compared to their competition. The client also said that since she had incorporated these changes and streamlined a few other parts of their proposal process, they had practically DOUBLED their close rate.
Make it easy for your prospect to do business with you and you will increase both your close rate and speed up the amount of time it takes to close your sale.
- Make it easy for your customer to understand the value you provide by speaking to them in every day language, not your industry’s jargon.
- Keep it simple to read by excluding copy that does not need to be included. Hint: If there is no benefit tied to the copy, you probably don’t need the copy, or you need to think of a way to say it to the prospect so that they feel like there is a benefit tied to it.
- Make sure all the features you mention include the benefit to the prospect. (See point 2 above)
- Bullet formats are a great way to convey a lot of information in a concise and easy to read manner.
- Have someone outside of your industry read your proposal and see if they can understand what you are offering and what the benefits are of your services. (If they can’t, ask specifically what copy confuses them. Rewrite it so that they can understand what you are trying to say.)
- Make sure to include your unique selling proposition that clearly explains why you are the best choice among your competitors.