Writing a business proposal is one of the most important stages of the sales process—but often, one that people neglect. It’s sad to think that there are a lot of missed opportunities that come from incomplete, messily-written, or simply unappealing proposals.
Have you encountered that problem lately? Want to see how much of a difference a well-written, well-designed proposal can make? Here’s our take on the winning formula, and our list of seven tips to make a good business proposal.
The Winning Formula
We’ll start by sharing a classic and time-tested formula. To us, a winning proposal helps achieve the following things:
- It clarifies business objectives.
- It outlines the roles that everyone will do for the project.
- It will act as a blueprint for doing good work.
- It will outline how to reap higher profits.
And across several decades, we’ve noticed that the winning formula for a business proposal contains the following things:
- A good hook, or compelling copy that will reel the client in;
- A statement of the problem that the company is out to solve;
- Your plan to help solve this problem;
- Your qualifications, or reasons why you can do this job better than anyone else; and,
- A clear cost breakdown of your services.
But it’s also worth noting that there are fresh new ways to execute this formula. A lot of innovations have been made in today’s business climate, and our current technologies also affect our ease in doing business.
Another thing you can explore after writing your proposal along these guidelines is upgrading to web-based proposal software. That way, you worry less about a traditional .DOC or .PDF getting lost in your client’s inbox, adjust or organize the contents in a proposal template as needed, and even include multimedia elements, like video.
Best Tips to Win Over a New Client
Whatever the case may be, a little more effort on your business proposal could go a long way. Here are some additional tips on freshening up your proposal and scoring a new client.
- Showcase what your company is all about. Open with a concise statement of your mission and vision, what your brand is all about, and who you’ve helped in the past. In this section, you may even add short, one-sentence testimonials from happy former or current clients.
- Demonstrate your solution. In the part where you talk about the key problem, issue, or concern (such as driving up sales or web traffic), give relevant examples of work you’ve done before.
- Tailor the proposal to the company. Do your research on what the potential client’s own goals are and what the trends are like in their industry. Don’t make your proposal sound vague and generic, as if you are using the exact same ideas for business proposals to other companies.
- Highlight your proficiencies. For example, if you’re doing web design or content development for a client, cite the software tools you’re adept at using. That way, your client will have a concrete idea of how your work with them will be done.
- Incorporate visuals and/or multimedia if applicable. Nothing is a bigger eyesore on a business proposal than long consecutive blocks of text. Words aren’t the only things that serve a communicative purpose in your proposal: everything from the colors used to the fonts chosen matter. Do include charts or photos, layout the content to look fresh and eye-catching, and add multimedia if you’re using a format that permits.
- Proofread and double-check all the details. This is a must-do for all business proposals. It would be beyond embarrassing to misspell the company name or the name of your direct contact. When you think you’re done, read your content again for typos, messy formatting, or other errors that make you risk looking unprofessional.
- Make it mobile-friendly and easy to work with. There’s a chance your client will want to refer to the proposal again while they’re on their smartphones or tablets. It helps a lot to adapt the proposal to a mobile-friendly format. Another pro-tip is to make it easier for the client to engage with the proposal—for example, giving them the option to attach their e-signature if the proposal is approved.
That said, best of luck in winning over new business!