Would it blow your mind to hear that it’s not the print shop with the best price, best quality or top-of-the-line customer service that wins the business? It’s the print shop with the best … proposal. If this is making you uncomfortable, that’s a good thing.  

To reiterate, the shop with the best proposal wins.

Consider this common scenario: A customer needs decorated apparel for staff and attendees at an upcoming event, so they approach two local print shops for product ideas and pricing.

Let’s say these print shops are on the same playing field when it comes to products, services, pricing, print capabilities, quality and turn times.

Print Shop A sends a quote and invoice through the normal channels, and hears crickets.

Print Shop B quickly sends a customized proposal—and wins the business.

Why? Speed (and extreme attention to detail) wins the new sales game. Customers expect fast, if not immediate, responses from vendors. However, they also want unique apparel solutions for their particular needs.

The good news? InkSoft Proposals is a quick and efficient solution for decorating businesses to produce visual sales presentations and apparel mockups, all in one easy-to-use cloud-based program.

Be the Winningest Print Shop

But first, let’s take a deeper dive into why well-thought-out proposals might be your best sales tool. Clear proposals multiply your sales. When you send your prospect an easy-to-follow, compelling proposal, you’ve multiplied the impact of your sales and marketing efforts. Plus, you’ve minimized or eliminated risk avoidance. People will say no to offers that aren’t clear because they’re afraid of making a mistake.

1: Make your proposal personal and memorable.

When your proposal stands out and looks uniquely personalized for each prospect, you stand out against the competition.  

2: Include your upfront payment terms.

When you send your proposal, include your terms—preferably that your shop collects full payment before you start the job. (Get a primer on how lots of printers are switching to 100% upfront payment.)

3: Samples sell.

When you take the time to show prospects how their logo will look on a polo, hoodie or hat, they immediately understand what you’ll deliver to them. This provides almost instant peace of mind for a buyer, especially when they haven’t used that particular garment, decorating method or even your shop before. 

4: Give your clients solid options.

Giving your clients more than one choice without overwhelming them will grow your sales. 

Physical samples aren’t always practical, but virtuals are—especially when you include them as part of your proposal. Remember these key ideas:

  • Consumers buy with their eyes, not their brains.
  • A virtual mock of a logoed garment removes questions and doubts about what it’ll look like.
  • A virtual sample helps build a relationship by making your prospects comfortable, as you anticipate their needs.
  • A virtual mock-up can be easily shared and quickly agreed on when client group decisions are made.

Giving your clients more than one choice without overwhelming them will grow your sales. 

First, try bracketing. The good-better-best scenario is a great example of this. If your client wants a polo shirt, for example, show three options in terms of increasing price and features to fit three different budget levels.

You can also employ the “alternative choice” close. That’s when your proposal shows two options and then asks: Would you like to go with Option A or Option B?

Here are five benefits to offering your clients options:

  • Spark “one-more” sales opportunities: “Wow, I never thought about logoed sports bottles along with our T-shirts,” your client says.
  • Emphasize that you’re a solutions-provider: Your proposal presents and exposes new solutions.
  • Empower your customer to choose what’s best for them: Customers like to choose and be empowered in the sales process.
  • Create a meaningful follow-up chat: Set up an opportunity to follow up with your prospect on options and review them together.
  • Differentiate your shop against all others vying for the bid: While every other print shop sends one invoice, you’re providing a range of custom options and solutions.

5. Establish urgency.

Give your client an incentive to quickly make a decision, whether it’s to lock in their production or immediately create pre-chosen target dates.

Try Proactive vs. Reactive Selling

Let’s play out a scenario: There are 261 working days in the 2019 calendar year. If you created and sent three personalized proposals each working day, you’d generate 783 high-impact marketing touches with prospective customers. If you garnered a 10% close rate, you’d score 78 new customers annually.

When you consider the average annual value of an account, proactive selling becomes even more powerful. Your “proactive proposals” should be personal—integrating your prospect’s brand and identity. If the prospect is new to you, check out their website, blogs and social media posts to see what types of products and graphics you’d recommend.

And of course, always follow up regularly via email and phone to fill a long-term sales pipeline. Ask your prospects how you can help solve their marketing challenges. 

Position Your Proposal for a Quick Sale

If you’ve ever taken a marketing copywriting 101 class, you probably learned not to use words that could evoke a negative context or emotions. Consider this: As a business owner or a consumer, when you get an email with “invoice” in the subject line, what pops into your mind? Expense. Cost. Bill.  Money going out.

Love it or hate it, but an invoice is a detailed list of goods shipped or services rendered, with an account of all costs. It’s an itemized bill. However, it isn’t a sales tool. You should never rely on an invoice to present and sell decorated goods to prospects and customers.

Contrast that with a value-laden proposal, which is an effective tool for suggesting solutions for your clients’ challenges. Then, it offers an opportunity to accept and pay for the goods and services.

A New Way to Send Proposals

InkSoft Proposals helps decorators close deals even faster with beautifully designed proposals—and invoices with built-in e-payment options.

Since you can customize each proposal for each unique client, you seal the deal faster with personal, visual products tailored to their business needs. You can even add their branding so they feel right at home in the proposal. Plus, they can comment right in the proposal, so you can have quicker convos and close the sale faster.

Once your clients sign on the e-dotted line, InkSoft Proposals seamlessly allows them to pay 100% upfront online before you start the job. You can also set your payment plans to match your shop’s cash flow goals.

Even better? We’ve added a simple way to access shareable links directly to invoices created in InkSoft Proposals. This allows you to quickly copy a direct invoice link so you can send it manually using your email client.

Proposal Your Heart Out

When you view your decorating business as a solutions provider, you immediately see the value in sending e-proposals that give your prospects and repeat customers options tailored exactly to their goals and needs.

So why not stay ahead of the competition and close deals faster with custom e-proposals? Take prospects intuitively through the sales process with your designed-to-impress proposals. Set yourself apart by creating a better customer experience and start growing your business by sending three inspired InksSoft proposals on the daily.

Take a virtual tour InkSoft Proposals.

There are two ways to learn more about InkSoft Proposals.

  1. Request a personalized tour with one of our experts here.
  2. Take the self-guided tour of Proposals here.