Every successful business strategy begins with a great proposal sold through a convincing PowerPoint. While simple slide designs and engaging presentation styles are crucial factors for success, effective proposals have a solid and well-researched idea at their core.
This article forms the meat of your sales presentation and determines whether it’s a feasible solution for your client’s needs.
Not only does it show that you did your homework, it also gives your audience a detailed plan worth investing in. To maximize the advantages of an idea-driven proposal, there are four elements to keep in mind:
1. Your Competition
Every client always has a problem that needs solving, but you aren’t the only one pitching for their business contract. You’ll always have competition, each with their own unique solutions.
The first step to making a powerful proposal is to find out not just the problem, but also its cause.
Look into your client’s business situation and standing as well as what their competition is doing (Sullivan, 2008).
When an advertisement for XO Beer ran in the Singapore Press Holdings newspapers, it became notorious for its fallen beer bottle image.
Such an image was previously unheard of for a beer ad, but it raised a considerable amount of demand for the brand at the time (Aitchison, 2004). Anything that the competitor overlooks can be your advantage.
2. The Client’s Customer Base
Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and profits are determined by how loyal they are to its brands. What makes customer behavior and feedback so important is that they determine the course of action your proposal must take.
One ad agency needed to run a campaign to promote Castlemaine XXXX Beer to the British.
They capitalized on the fact that Australians really loved this brand, along with the idea that they swear a lot.
That insight led to several successful ads with the tagline “Australians wouldn’t give a XXXX for anything else” (Aitchison, 2004).
Ask for information on how the client’s customers come into contact with their brand (Iacobucci & Calder, 2003). Good questions to start with are:
“What aspects of your brand do your customers like?”
“Which parts give negative impressions?”
“Which parts do you think we can improve on?”
Whatever you propose, be it a marketing campaign or a new business model, it will ultimately affect your client’s brand and customers. This makes it crucial to know what these consumers think about your client.
3. Your Solution in a Nutshell
By now, you’ve probably figured out your competition’s weakness and seen how your client’s customer base behave towards its brand. It’s time to figure out your solution.
The first two elements let you identify your competition’s weakness, as well as what your target market would want.
Information gained from these alone can give you the advantage. You offer what others don’t, and your solution becomes relevant to the ultimate benefactors: your client’s customers and employees.
Simplify it so you don’t use a PowerPoint overloaded with complex information (Gallo, 2010).
No matter how effective your idea sounds, it needs to be shown in a simple and easy-to-understand presentation.
4. What Do Your Clients Get Out of It?
Clients will always ask two things: how their money will be spent and how much the estimated earnings will be.
This is enough incentive to emphasize your proposal’s benefits. If what you present to them will allow for more savings, more earnings, or more efficient business, highlight this in your content (Gallo, 2010).
What matters is what your client will get out of spending money on your offering. The only thing better than a great solution is a solution with measurable and predictable results.
The pitch that wins the client’s contract is made with a compelling idea, one that shows them that you’ve done your homework. Everything boils down to how well you research on these four areas.
Once you do, your idea becomes more effective and convincing, especially when matched with a professionally-made PowerPoint.
Aitchison, J. Cutting edge advertising: how to create the world’s best print for brands in the 21st century. Singapore; New York: Prentice Hall, 2004.
“Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 11, 2014. Accessed May 7, 2015.
Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in front of any Audience. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.
Iacobucci, D. & Calder, B., J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management & Medill School of Journalism. Kellogg on Integrated Marketing. N.J: Wiley, 2003.
Sullivan, L. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
XO Beer Ad Samples. Neil French Site. Accessed May 7, 2015.