Sales for Nerds Online Course: Sales Proposals the Right Way by Reuben Swartz, Sales for Nerds

Sales for Nerds Online Course: Sales Proposals the Right Way

The Sales for Nerds Guide to Creating and Closing Sales Proposals (pays for itself on your next proposal)

A Great Investment...

"It's a great investment even if you only need it for one proposal, but it's a really great investment over the course of an entire  consulting career."
Wendy Nolin, Sales Consultant

How to win more deals

It took me over a decade to unlearn my bad proposal habits and create good ones, costing me a lot of money, time, and opportunities. 

I eventually got good enough at proposals that I started teaching other people (see picture).

You can now do it in less than an hour and a half, so you can grow your business faster, improving your close rate and your profits, while actually reducing stress.

Win More Deals

Money back guarantee

I hate scammy internet offers as much as anyone. Of course it all sounds good on the sales page. ;-)

So if you've wanted to do better with proposals, try it out.

If it doesn't help, I'll give you your money back.

"The light bulb moment..."

Expert consultant Kai Davis learned actionable proposal strategies and tactics to help him take his proposals to the next level.
Take Your Proposals to the Next Level

Do you find proposals stressful?

I did, too. For over a decade. But I figured out the reason I was having so much stress (and not having predictable success), was because I was thinking about proposals all wrong.

I changed the way I did proposals and suddenly started to enjoy writing them, rather than dreading the task.

Teaching this technique to others, I know it wasn't just a fluke for me. Other people have in some cases doubled or even tripled close rates, while reducing pricing pressure and stress.

In this course, learn:
  • The common mistakes people make when writing and presenting proposals (including many mistakes that I've made)
  • How to think about proposals from the prospect's perspective.
  • What every great proposal needs (and how to know when you don't have a great proposal, so you don't waste your time)
  • How to structure a proposal-- it's simpler than you might think.
  • How to price and negotiate.
  • How to manage the sales cycle to let you create a compelling proposal without lots of stress.
  • How to talk to prospects in a way that helps you decide if you have a compelling proposal, and if so, how to write the proposal without lots of stress.
  • How to present the proposal and get the client.
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But Don't Take My Word for It, Take Theirs...

This course speaks to me. It's easy to get high level advice on proposals, but hard to get specifics from someone who really gets professional services proposals. The included template means that we've been able to copy and paste and customize and put the ideas in the course to work.
Nikki Barrett, Managing Director, Grantbook
"I like the storytelling structure. I’ve got more confidence in my proposals. It’s a lot simpler. My close rate has gone from 30% to over 50%."
Tom Burtzlaff, Owner, CMIT Solutions of Columbia
"Thanks for the great tips in your course. I’ve been writing proposals for a couple decades and still found some useful ideas."
Nancy Latady, Owner & Principal, Latady Physician Strategies
"I will have less stress when I write my next proposal. You've definitely equipped me with better tools to go about that proposal writing process, both mentally and tactically."
Kai Davis
Solid course. We made several modifications to our proposal document after this. It's been helpful and I'm happy with it.
Ray Miller, President, Realtech Webmasters
"I learned a ton-- things like how to make the proposal more compelling, how to present pricing information, and how to know what to include (and what not to include). I like that the approach is comfortable and low-key."
Michael Katz, Chief Penguin at Blue Penguin Development Group
"I took the Sales for Nerds proposal course to help me prepare a recent proposal. Although I've run my own business successfully for over a decade, proposals were always a bit stressful.  I was never quite sure how much to include, or how long the proposal should be. This course was very helpful, taking a lot of the guesswork out regarding what to put in the proposal (and what to leave out). It's a great investment even if you only need it for one proposal, but it's a really great investment over the course of an entire  consulting career."
Wendy Nolin, Sales Consultant
"Coming from a financial background, I used to struggle with how to structure my proposals. I wasted excessive time on each one without being ever satisfied with the results. I am grateful for Reuben's techniques and tools that helped me get unstuck. The proposal structure and quality tools he provided became my go-to framework for my new proposals over the past two years. Nowadays I only spend only a few minutes on each new proposal. This has really helped me cope with the significant growth of my business."
Brigitte Benquet, On Demand CFO and Principal at Unified Finance Organization
"This is a great course for anyone who's unsure of themselves when writing proposals. I loved the length-- it's very manageable, but also packed full of useful information. There are great tactics for writing the proposal and asking the right questions during the sales cycle which have changed the way I approach proposals. The Fill in the Blank template is also great."
Charlotte Davis, Founder & President, Verve Communications
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Some background

Hi, Reuben Swartz from Sales for Nerds.

Today, I’m inviting you to take your sales proposal game to the next level.

But before we get into that, let me tell you about my journey, which was full of lots of trials and lots of errors. 
(And, no one, least of all me, would have predicted that I’d be offering a course on sales proposals.)

I should really take you back to high school (don’t worry, no pictures), where I picked up a lot of bad writing habits because English teachers seemed to grade based on the number of vocabulary words you could cram into each sentence. Ok, game on.

When I went to college, people who actually wanted to teach me how to write covered my papers with red ink (yes, in those days it was actual ink on actual paper). Wow-- I could actually express written thoughts and other people could understand them!

Then I got into the corporate world. I wrote software, but I sometimes got called in to answer technical questions on RFP (Request for Proposal) responses. 

How was I supposed to answer these questions? I knew I couldn’t just use technical jargon (I thought I was so savvy), so I looked through the other parts of the proposal to see what the professional sales people wrote.
It was like I was back in high school, except instead of SAT vocab words, we were trying to cram in as much MBA-speak as possible. 

How much highly advanced cutting edge patented strategically developed software did we have? A lot.

The thing was, this approach worked well enough. Sales cycles were typically a year or more. Everything was done by committee.

So when I decided I wanted to be an independent consultant (work half the year, travel half the year-- ask me how that plan went), I knew I’d have to write proposals.

I can still remember prospects asking, “can you send me a proposal?”

I was excited-- and terrified. Both feeling were justified. I knew I needed to get past this hurdle to get clients, but I had no idea what I was doing. The sales books I read had tons of details on managing my life as if I was a full time sales person, but little on how to actually write a proposal.

So I looked at some sample templates on the internet, and went back to my bad habits.

I’d have great conversations with prospects, think I had the deal in the bag, write a horrendous proposal, and end up losing a lot of business.

Even deals I eventually won didn’t close when I expected. I’d send the proposal and realize that I had confused instead of enlightened the prospect.

After one particularly painful explanation of a proposal, I wondered why I didn’t just write it they way I’d explained it, the way I’d talk to a friend instead of a megacorp.

With little to lose, I tried a very different approach, and started winning more consistently, more quickly, and with less pricing pushback.

Even better, I wasn’t stressed out writing the proposal-- it was actually fun.

Plus, I noticed the projects themselves went better.

I didn’t really think about this incredible change to my business. 
Higher close rates, more predictable closing times, better pricing. It was just a step in the path to doing the actual work.

Later, when I developed software to automate the proposal process (another story for another time), I thought I could just help people automate their proposals. But I realized that they were making the same mistakes I had made.

At first, I was hesitant to say anything. What did I know?

But people actually asked for help. What *should* be in their proposals?

I spent a lot of time teaching people 1-on-1 and in small groups how to rethink proposals, taking the lessons I had learned over a decade or more.
The results were fantastic. People increased close rates, in some cases by 50%, in some cases by 200%, even 300%.

Stress went down, sales went up.

After a while, I realized I was on to something. Every time I coached someone through this, I thought I should create an online course, so anyone could do this. 

Now, it’s finally here.

Money Back Guarantee

I want you to be successful.
If you complete this course and it doesn't help you create and close proposals, I'll give you your money back.
This course should pay for itself on your next proposal or two. And you'll have the knowledge that will keep paying dividends for the rest of your life.
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After you complete the course...

You will be able to:
  • Create more compelling proposals from a few thousand dollars to a million dollars
  • Create proposals with less stress
  • Close more of your proposals, at higher prices
  • Set up your projects for success
  • Qualify prospects better, so you waste less time (and you don't get your hopes up for the wrong deals)
  • Interact more naturally and confidently with prospects during the sales cycle
You'll also get:
  • The proposal template discussed in the course, in both Word and online formats
  • The "pre-proposal" checklist, so you'll know which questions to ask in the sales cycle, and whether you're ready to commit to a proposal
  • Access to the course content, so you can revisit particular sections when you need a refresher.

Taking your proposals to the next level

If you need to create and close proposals to get clients, but find that proposals are stressful, that prospects sometimes ghost you after you send them a proposal, that you don’t win business you thought you had in the bag, this is the course for you.

Don’t spend 10+ years learning this stuff, like I did. 

  • What % of your proposals do you win now? What if you could increase that by double or even triple digits?
  • How much time do you spend on proposals? What if you could create compelling, customized proposals in less than an hour?
  • How much time do you waste on sales cycles that aren’t productive? What if you could eliminate a good chunk of that (I can’t promise to eliminate all meetings with prospects who ultimately are a bad fit)? 
  • What if you could take some of those prospects who don’t seem like a great fit and actually turn them into clients?

I have made the mistakes. I learned by trial and error. You don’t have to. 

In less than an hour and a half, I’ll walk you through how to think about proposals, the structure and content of your proposal, how to price, how to present, and how to negotiate and close. (Plus, I’ll tell you if and when you should even write a proposal in the first place.)

But I’m a terrible writer, you say. That’s actually not a problem. The course includes a template that you can customize to your needs, and includes the strategies and tactics you need to fill it out properly.

But I hate sales, you say. Me, too. But I love helping people. I consider “selling” someone making money to benefit the seller, at the expense of the buyer. I consider helping someone in business as making money helping someone do what they want, for their benefit. This proposal course orients you towards helping, which is great for people who don’t like the hard sell.

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This course is for you if:

  • You need to create some kind of proposal to win business. 
  • Your proposals are typically $X,000 to $X00,000. (The techniques will work with smaller and larger deals, too, but for smaller deals you usually need a more automated process, and for larger deals, there's a lot of other things that happen in the sales cycle that will override your proposal issue.)
  • You need to talk to the prospect before creating a proposal. In other words, you offer a service or solution that’s not cookie-cutter. 
  • You write or help to write your firm’s proposals.
  • You’d like to increase your close rate and reduce your proposal-related stress
  • You have some control over the content of the proposal

This course is not for you if:

  • You don’t work on proposals (note that some people call these documents quotes, contracts, agreements, etc-- I’m using “proposal” to cover “document that summarizes the project that you will sign so we can start”).
  • You have no control over the content or format (for example, if you respond to RFPs in some kind of electronic buyer’s software). Some of the content of the course will still be helpful, but you’re not really going to get full value.

More Customer Feedback

This course is clear and concise and helped me focus on the buyer and the problem. The overall flow of the course is easy to follow and the "rules" are helpful and easy to remember when I'm creating a proposal. Definitely recommended!
Robel Alemseged Kebede, Business Development Manager, Includovate
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How to get started

  • Just click a Buy button and enter your information. You’ll go straight to the course, and you’ll also get an email with a link so you can always get back in. 
  • You can take the course all at once (about 90 minutes), or at your leisure. You can also revisit the course later-- whether you want to go through the whole course again, or just get a refresher on a particular section.
How to make the most of the course:

  • I recommend going through the course in one sitting, if you can, although the course remembers where you left off, so it’s easy to jump back in.
  • Then, the next time you write a proposal, you can jump directly to the part of the course that you might want to jog your memory on. If you try to work on the proposal while you go through the course the first time, you’ll probably make it harder and end up spending more time.
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About Me

I spent a decade learning how to do proposals the right way. I went from knowing I needed to hear "can you send me a proposal?", but dreading it, to having it be a welcome part of a strong relationship.

Why did it take so long?

A lot of the sales books and sales training you see are based on the activities of the pipeline, with a brief "and then you write the proposal". But what does that really mean?

The proposal is the culmination of the sales cycle, the gateway to the client relationship. Understanding how the proposal really works not only makes the proposal process easier, it helps you structure an effective sales process and successful projects.
Reuben Swartz, Chief Nerd

What's included?

Video Icon 6 videos File Icon 6 files


S4N Proposal Course - Introduction.mp4
3 mins
Part I: A new way to think about proposals
S4N Proposal Course Part I - A new way to think about proposals.mp4
9 mins
Part II: Proposal structure
S4N Proposal Course Part II - Structure.mp4
20 mins
Part III: Pricing
S4N Proposal Course Part III - Pricing.mp4
10 mins
Part IV: Writing, presenting, and closing
S4N Proposal Course Part IV - Writing, Presenting, Closing.mp4
33 mins
Part V: Implications
S4N Proposal Course Part V.mp4
10 mins
Fill in the Blank Hero Proposal Template (Online)
Mad Libs Marketing Mission Generator
Sales for Nerds LinkedIn Group
Sales for Nerds Podcast
Sales for Nerds Proposal Template.docx
487 KB
Sales for Nerds Proposal Checklist.pdf
35.7 KB

Sales and marketing help for people who hate sales and marketing.

Techie (and Chief Nerd from the Sales for Nerds podcast) Reuben Swartz here. I'm taking the techniques I learned the hard way and refined in consulting engagements and workshops and making them available online for a much more accessible investment of time and money.


Should I take the course if English isn't my first language?

Listen to the intro video at the top of the page. If you are comfortable with that, you'll be comfortable with the content in the course. 

Will this help me with academic or nonprofit proposals?

Perhaps, but I don't have any expertise there, so I can't recommend the course in those situations.

How long is the course?

About an hour and twenty minutes. You can go through it all in one sitting, or section by section. You can also jump back to sections as you need to reference them when writing a proposal.

Have a question that's not covered on this page?

Do you offer any kind of guarantee?

Yes. If this course doesn't help you, get your money back within 30 days. I only want your money if this helps you.

Will this help me if I'm part of a big sales team?

Do you have to write proposals? Or parts of them? If so, this course will help you. If proposals aren't part of your responsibilities, then you may get some benefits in your conversations and qualification techniques, but I wouldn't really recommend the course.

Why is this course so cheap?

I want to make it a no brainer, so people don't have to learn this stuff the hard way, like I did. ;-)

Why are there so many sections?

The course has a lot of small sections so that when you're writing a proposal and you want to refer back to a particular point, it's easy to jump in.

Will this help me with marriage proposals?

No. At least not directly. Although if you're about to take that step, some of the listening and learning about what people really want tips could come in handy. ;-)

Will this help me if I'm a solo consultant?

Yes, if you are responsible for the proposals that bring in your clients.

What happens after I buy this course?

You'll get a link to the course content, and you can start right away. Of course, you can also work through the material a little bit at a time-- the system will remember where you left off, but I'd recommend doing at least one section at a time.

Why is this course so expensive?

If you think this course is too expensive, it's probably not for you.
The purpose of this course is to increase your close rate, increase your revenue per proposal, and decrease your stress. If you can do that, the investment has a great return, very quickly (probably on your next proposal).

Should I write a proposal while I'm going through the course?

I recommend you complete the course, then start working on your proposal. You can always refer back to the materials for clarification.