1. The customer need is unclear
It might be a case of stating the obvious, but it’s a common pitfall. If you haven’t clearly identified the customer’s needs, you will risk forgetting important information to make a good proposal. You need to always understand the underlying question of the customer and adjust your quotation accordingly. Read more about discovering customer needs in this article. .
2. Writing Too Much About Yourself
A quotation is not an advertisement. Keep in mind that it’s not about you; it’s about the customer. It makes sense that you want to showcase your capabilities, but avoid overdoing it. The customer primarily wants to know what you can do for them. So keep the focus on the added value and distinguishing yourself from the competition. Concentrate on the customer and their needs, not on yourself and your achievements.
3. Copy-Paste and be done with it
Every proposal is unique and should align with the customer’s request. Avoid copying and pasting old proposals as much as possible, because the customer will immediately recognize it as a standard proposal. Research has shown that this is the primary reason for prospects to lose interest, as they feel there is no attention to their specific needs. And in the worst case scenario, there is a chance of accidentally including personal information from a precious client or the error of using their name instead.
4. Using only long texts
Your proposal is how you present yourself. Showcase yourself accordingly. A quotation in a Word document with only text is likely not representative of your organization. Incorporate your brand elements and think of ways to visually present the content, such as infographics, images, widgets, and charts.
5. Over-Selling too much at once
Being overly enthusiastic can backfire. If you try to sell the customer everything at once, you might overwhelm them. Therefore, focus on the most relevant solutions and benefits you can offer. This will help you avoid scaring the customer with selling too much at once.
6. Fail to provide evidence
Words alone are not enough. You need to support your statements with facts and figures. Utilize testimonials in your proposal. It carries more credibility when someone else speaks positive about your organization. Show that that what you offer works and delivers reliable results.
7. Making accusations
A proposal is not a criticism letter. Avoid focusing on the customer’s problems, risks, limitations, or weaknesses. Instead, try to emphasize the solutions, benefits, opportunities and strengths you can provide. This shows confidence and lets you demonstrate your ability to help the customer achieve their goals. For example:
🚫 You currently have an issue with your revenue.
✅ We can help you increase your revenue.
8. Incomprehensible Language and Spelling Errors
A proposal is not a scientific article. It should always be an accessible and understandable document for the prospect. Try to avoid difficult words, professional jargon, abbreviations and terms the customer is unfamiliar with. Also, refrain from using passive and complex sentences that reduce readability. And, of course, avoid spelling errors at all costs. They can undermine the credibility of your proposal.
9. Absence of a unique advantage
If there is no clear, unique reason for the prospect to choose your proposel, they won’t. It’s therefore important that you clearly demonstrate why you meet their needs. . Express your added value and highlight your unique advantage. Don’t offer a one-size-fits-all solution. Tailor your proposal to the specific needs of your prospect.
10. Information Overload
Too much information can be confusing. That’s why you need to only provide the relevant details the prospect needs to make a decision. Keep it short, simple and to the point.
11. Forgetting important information
The opposite of giving too much information, is giving information that is insufficient. Make sure you don’t forget important information and key details. Make sure you always include the following:
- Company details for your organization and the customer
- Quotation number
- Summary of the work
- Rate or (project) price
- Validity period
- Reference to terms and conditions
12. Negative Formulations
Did you know that our subconsciousness plays a significant role in 95% of our decision making? And what’s even more interesting: you process negative information even without realizing it, making it more memorable. Be sure therefore that you use positive sentences. Here is an example of how this will affect the response:
🚫 Our warranty does not cover wear parts.
✅ Our warranty includes all important components, with wear parts being the only exception.
13. Unclear follow-up
No matter how perfect you’ve made your proposal, without a good and clear follow-up, you still might not close the deal. Make sure you don’t overlook the importance of the follow-up. Indicate in your proposal that you will be in touch. A clear follow-up shows that you are eager to work with the customer.
These are the thirteen most commons pitfalls that we encounter time and again Did you know that 50% of the prospects receiving a proposal are ultimately disappointed with the proposal they receive? Make sure your prospects aren’t one of them by reflect on which pitfall you might have unwittingly fallen into and use these insights to improve your approach and proposal.