4 Differences Between a Sales Pitch and a Business Proposal

Some people may think that a sales pitch and a business proposal are the same thing; however, they are different stages in proactive sales.

There are four fundamental differences, which I am outlining below. Knowing these differences can help you make a more significant impact.

The Art of Communication: Written vs. Vocalized

One of the crucial differences between a sales pitch and a business proposal is the method of implementation. Whereas a sales pitch is vocalized, the average business proposal is a written offer to a prospective buyer.

Both require a different dialogue, and mastering that is an art. However, once the initial sales pitch is effective, a written business proposal is usually the next step. This raises the stakes of making each sales pitch remarkable. Here are some tips on what to avoid doing.

Creating a Radically Different Sense of Urgency

One big difference between a sales pitch and a business proposal is in the way you use ‘urgency’ to stimulate action. In the sales pitch situation, you want the potential buyer to act on the big picture – the strategic impact. You can do so by connecting to their vision, their principal business goals and by addressing the risks of doing nothing.

In the business proposal stage, the sense of urgency is different; you want to create an urgency around placing the signature. According to Forbes:

Create a sense of urgency with the buyer so the proposal is signed more quickly. After all, the buyer fully understands the cost of delaying the decision.

Winning the Hearts vs. Winning the Brain

A business proposal is the natural progression after the pitch is successful. A recent article touches on closing the deal and transitioning with ease, based on how you perform the closing stage of the pitch.

What's the difference between a sales pitch and a business proposal

A vital part of your pitch is the way you close. Your close should be the natural step to a ‘yes’ for the next stage, whether that is the next round, or ideally closing the deal.

The essence is all about winning the heart vs. winning the brain. With the pitch, the focus is to win the heart by leveraging the power of emotion, surprise, and stories.

The pitch is not necessarily about selling. It is about positioning and changing perspectives to convince the customer to “buy” from you rather than you having to do a hard sell to them.

With the business proposal, the focus is on winning the brain by communicating the methods, (financial) facts, and relevant evidence.

The Big Idea vs. Declaration of Details

Another way of looking at the difference between a sales pitch and a business proposal is by looking at the way facts are used.

The ideal pitch is all about ‘less is more’ and tuning for impact. You communicate facts to get on common ground with the customer. However, that is only half of the story. Your best chances to get them to buy from you arise once you inspire them about “what can be” and use facts and anecdotes to back your idea, convincing them that doing nothing is not an option.

A business proposal is more in-depth and includes data that a pitch does not. This provides pricing information and details that have all of the fine print and data to continue the closing. Business proposals generally feel more formal than sales pitches because they include so much more and different information.

All in all, it’s the sales pitch that’s the door that gets you to the proposal. As such, mastering the art of crafting a remarkable sales pitch can transform your success in sales.

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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.