You’ve been pursuing your prospect for about six months now. Multiple telephone calls and lots of carefully crafted emails have finally resulted in a meeting. Congratulations! After all, you have a fantastic product and your prospect needs to hear about it.

The meeting goes really well. You identify your prospect’s pain points by asking smart insightful questions and you feel that you have genuinely connected. You believe it’s only a formality before you’re doing business and you’re the blue-eyed boy (or girl) around the office.

​But wait, nothing comes easy in this life and you’re brought abruptly down to earth when your prospect tells you he urgently needs your proposal by the end of the week. He’s also evaluating two other proposals from your competitors he’s already met with.

So, how do you guarantee that your proposal will knock your prospects’ socks off and blow away the competition? Well, you need to do two things. Firstly, your objective is to persuade your prospect to take action and go with you because your solution is the best one to solve his problem, or add the most value to his business. Secondly, the most effective way to do this is by constructing your proposal using the ‘NOSE’ format. What does ‘NOSE’ stand for I hear you ask.

Your prospect’s key business needs; problems; issues; pains or opportunities: The main drivers behind the deal.
The first step in persuading is to restate your understanding of your prospect’s needs, problems or issues. Summarize his business situation, focusing on the competency to be acquired or problem to be solved. By focusing on your prospects’ pain points, you get their attention. You also demonstrate that you have listened to them carefully, which will build trust and credibility.

The positive impact that will result from meeting his needs: the motivation to proceed.
This part of the persuasive structure is a bit counter-intuitive as it will probably seem logical to provide a solution after identifying the problem. Your objective however is motivation. If you’re unable to motivate your prospect to move forward with your recommendations, you’ve failed. It’s important that having identified the pain points, you paint a picture of how it will feel when the said problems are taken away. This is a powerful technique that will have your prospect frantically thumbing to the solutions part.

A recommendation for a product or service that will solve the problem and deliver the outcomes.
The core of your proposal is your solution and gives you a great opportunity to persuade your prospect you’re the one. Assuming you have whetted your prospect’s appetite by focusing on the Needs and potential Outcomes, your prospect will be eager to hear your solution.

Make sure you have a genuine value proposition so that it’s clear what profound difference you can make to their business. It’s also important to connect back to the Needs or Outcomes so you don’t come across as self-centred. How does what you have or do solve the problems in his business or add real value? Another mistake is that most proposals don’t actually recommend anything. To be a solution, the products and services you are recommending must be linked to your prospect’s specific situation.

Proof you can do the job on time and on budget.
The last step in persuasion is to provide evidence you can do the job. Basically, you’re trying to show you can and will keep your promises. You are providing proof that you can deliver the solution you’ve proposed on time and on budget.

Although I’m sure you’re honest and credible, there’s nothing more reassuring than providing examples of how you have helped your other customers with similar circumstances. Try to be as specific as possible with examples otherwise you may come across as a bit woolly. Testimonials from existing customers are also an excellent way of gaining confidence from your prospect.

Hopefully you’ve sold yourself by now and as long as your solution is competitive, you should be home and dry. Don’t forget, if you are more expensive than your competitors, you only need to sell the difference. Link this back to the Outcomes and Solutions to persuade your prospect that paying more is still the best way to go.