There’s a reason why Apple came on top in Forbes’ list of the world’s most valuable brands for the seventh year running in 2017. Worth $170 billion by Forbes’ count and 67% more than second-ranked Google, Apple is on a league of its own for its consistency in generating profits through an overwhelming demand for its products, gaining millions of buyers the world over, year in and year out. What makes this company so utterly untouchable? Is it their product or their brand? While the safe answer could be both, we cannot deny that winning products themselves are still the lifeblood of any thriving business, even those that are a hundred times less valuable than the likes of Apple or Google. Or any business for that matter.
To state the obvious, where would your profit come from, without the product? Products have always been the bread and butter of businesses that either want to grow as big and be as successful as global brands in the future or just simply sell enough to compete in very demanding industries. Today, consumers are spoilt with hundreds, even thousands of product choices. But even the best marketing in the world wouldn’t leave a bad product unnoticed for all the wrong reasons. A product made or gone wrong cannot be masked, especially that in this day and age, customers are experts in the art of product comparison. This is the reason why our product choices have negative marketing implications for the business.
It all starts somewhere. And one of the not-so-secret places for products selling like hotcakes is at the tip of a smart entrepreneur’s pen, which is to say, product proposals written with promises to win some. Coming up with one is never easy. Whatever the cost is, whether you’re selling something for a price of a dollar or a hundred, or a thousand dollars, being able to create a convincing new product proposal can be very intimidating, not to mention time-consuming. But taking the time to sit down, with every intention to do it right, can make a big difference. It could actually make all the difference in the world for both you and the company you are writing it for.
Do not expect to walk away scoring a sale by a haphazardly written proposal with numerical gibberish that your client won’t be able to absorb. Suing an outline or a formula for a good proposal will help improve your chances of a sale while also making you gain a newfound confidence in the process. Big and successful companies don’t sit around leaving the development of new products to prayers and chances. Everything goes through a carefully thought out process with people behind it to strengthen the odds and remove any telling sign of a possible product failure.
Create a proposal theme. This theme serves the same purpose as a thesis statement in an academic essay; it should be the main reason why the potential buyer should purchase your product or service. For example, if you are a gardener, you might focus on the value that a well-kept garden can add to a home. This should be one of your first sentences and should be reinforced throughout the proposal.
As a common misconception, a lot of people put importance on the weight of a proposal, not the content, not the value, when in fact, an effective proposal is actually based more on the value or what you can bring to the table. The proposal starts the moment you do your initial presentation. It continues when you meet to sit down with your client and shake their hands with a little exchange of casualties. Even the part where both of you listen to each other and ask questions whether it is about the product or not is also a part of the proposal. The thing is, you are building a framework for a proposal. What it comes down to, is a business relationship, when it’s all down on paper, the rest of the elements will materialize. Doing that also helps you ensure that you and the client are on the same page.
While a proposal should be kept realistic, it should also focus on what the prospect or the business can gain, or how it would help further their goals and meet their objectives. Most people go with a standard template or theme that they usually use in creating proposals but it would be better to use a unique one to meet a certain company or client’s needs. Different businesses, different needs, and it is up to you to figure out what those needs are so that you would know how to answer specific questions regarding client product requirements. Remember that no two proposals should ever be the same. That is a universal truth in the business world.
A well-built professional new product proposal will always take the buyer’s needs into consideration without confusing them. Whatever those requirements or needs are, they would surely help you in planning out something that may not give the other party everything they want but at most give both of you bigger chances of arriving at a common ground without sacrificing the most important things. On the seller’s side, a well-created proposal clearly states what the product brings to the table in terms of sales potential, in which case the buyer has a general idea of its capabilities and the fulfillment of his or her needs. This will prevent any miscommunication on either side and will give the business bigger chances.
A good proposal will also help cover other important areas of the business like timeline and budget. Again, it is very important to keep it realistic, thereby avoiding expectations that both parties would set too high for themselves and for each other. Ask the right questions from the very beginning. After proper negotiations and making the business requirements known, make the necessary adjustments to the timeline you have initially set. If the buyer has a specific timeline in mind that you cannot meet, tell them outright and make sure to let them understand your reasons. And those reasons should, of course, be valid, rightful. Then try to agree on an attainable timeline. After which, do the same for the budget.
Offer choices. Let the buyer, business or client have a choice. Just don’t try to offer too many choices or your risk the chance of confusing them because of an array of options too complicated to grasp. When you sit down and meet with your client, give them possible scenarios where your choices will be built on. For example, what would be the most important points they would be looking for, in a proposal? It’s not to wrong to ask about things that allow them to think that as clients, they pull the strings and have the leverage on this business deal. Give them the reigns, but keep your control at the other end. This will give the client a good feeling of being taken care of.
Be flexible and make room for adjustments when it’s necessary to cater to the other party without sacrificing your part of the business deal. Being flexible also comes with being transparent. Although the client wouldn’t have to necessarily know what your exact same product plan is going to be, down to the very last detail, at least keep them in the loop with the most important parts of the project, especially when it’s about time and money, or how attainable the fulfillment of their expectations would be.
Treat your proposal as a tool to forge good business relationships with every client and prospect you come across. Take it as something you have one shot out of because, at the end of the day, that’s what it would be. One shot to make the business believe in your ability to come up with a good new product proposal that shows more than enough proposal. Focus on what they want to sell and how you can help them gain more customers and positive business results. When they see that you are treating them like you are the one anticipating the impact of the product on their business, will give you endless possibilities like the same clients seeking you out on future projects, so long as you don’t sell them impossible dreams.