A Definitive Guide on How to Write a Business Proposal

Monika Jahnavi

By 

Monika Jahnavi

Published 

April 15, 2022

A Definitive Guide on How to Write a Business Proposal

Starting a new business takes a lot of hard work. And to make this business successful and profitable, you need to expand your client base. But how will you convince potential clients to choose you over your competitors in the industry?

This is where business proposals enter the scene. Creating a business proposal that outlines everything about your business, what it does and how it solves a specific pain point, can help persuade potential clients that yours is the best firm for the job.

And who better to do this job than you? As a sales representative, apart from shedding the spotlight on your business, you can use the business proposal to convince potential customers how your product can provide a meaningful solution to their business.

Don't know how to get started with the business proposal? In this article, we will discuss how to write an effective business proposal. But first, let’s be clear about what a business proposal is.

What is a Business Proposal?


A company or an organization creates a business proposal to present a secure business plan to their potential clients. A legal document, it is given to the prospects with the aim to sell the company's services or product.

How to Write a Business Proposal?


Here are a few things that should be covered in every business proposal:

  • Who are you?
  • What does your company do?
  • What problem is your prospect facing?
  • What possible effective solutions can your company offer?
  • How will your company implement the solution?
  • What resources will you utilize? (Such as money, time, technology, etc.)

There is no single definitive way to write all kinds of business proposals. You can create a winning business proposal with proper research, personalization, and customized solutions based on the client's requirements. Let's discuss the essential steps and points every proposal should include:

Let Them Get to Know You


The first few pages of your proposal should introduce your business, leadership team, and its people. Here are a few essential elements that your introduction should have:

  • Title page
  • Cover letter
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Qualifications

Let’s explore each of these elements in brief.

1. Overview


The overview makes up the first two-three pages of your business proposal. It should reflect professionalism as it will create the first impression. Remember to make it aesthetically appealing. The overview includes the title page and a cover letter.

The title page must include the following elements:

  • Your name
  • Your company's name
  • Date of submission
  • Prospect’s name

Next comes the cover letter, make sure you draft it carefully as it is the hook of your B2B proposal. It should have:

  • A greeting
  • Summary
  • Personalized offer
  • References

Address your prospect while writing the cover letter – this adds a personal touch to the letter.

2. Table of Contents


It will help your potential clients know what you have covered in the business proposal. It makes things simple and accessible for them.

The decision-makers or people you will be pitching to are senior executives most times. They have busy schedules and can't read your proposal in one go. Having a table of contents makes it easy for them to skim through parts that are more important to them.

Also, if you are sending a digital proposal, it is advisable to add a clickable table of contents for easy navigation to different sections.

3. Executive Summary


An executive summary states the exact reason for sending the proposal and your best solution. It must include:

  • Introduction of your company
  • Overview of your company's goals
  • Milestones, vision, plans of your company
  • Benefits of your company's products, services, or business
  • How can it solve the client's problem?
  • How can you help them?
  • Add any relevant detail.

4. Qualifications


At this point, the client likes your proposal but does not trust you fully. So leverage this section to communicate to them why they should believe in you and your solution. You should portray yourself as their best hope and convince them that you can solve their problems or needs.

Highlight what your company is best at and how qualified and hardworking your team is. Also include success stories, past experiences, awards, and accreditation. Add social proof to make them more credible. It will boost your authority.

The Problem Section


What: Write about the client’s needs, problems, or pain points for which you are proposing the business deal.  

How: A well-structured problem statement will allow the client to know that you have fully understood their problem or needs. Here are some things to keep in mind while writing it:

  • Take a holistic approach and research thoroughly before writing the proposal
  • Frame it in a way that will set you up with the client
  • The problem statement should develop a sense of urgency.
  • Also, it should create the impression that you have done your research well and that yours is not a generic pitch.
  • You can also create an opportunity to highlight problems that prospective clients might not be aware of.

Then write a compelling problem statement that looks like this:

Offer a Personalized Solution


What: Offer a well-researched and planned strategy to solve the issue and fulfill your prospect’s needs.

How: Write the solution in detail. You can elaborate on it using separate sections. It should be customized as per the client's needs. You can also tell them about the deliverables and methods you will use, along with a timeframe of when they can expect the results. You can make it visually appealing by adding flowcharts, roadmap, or timeline infographics.

Begin Wrapping Up


1. Include a Cost Summary


This section is where you outline your fees, payment mode, schedule, and payment terms. Now, this can be a little tricky to ace. Because on one side you want to crack the deal but on the other side you don’t want to come across as someone who is under or over-price their services.

You can provide a few pricing options to the prospective client. Various proposal software available online can help you get a responsive pricing table. It will help potential clients to calculate prices for the products or services they are interested in. Additionally, breaking up the price range is a great way to ensure prospects know what they are paying for.

2. Terms and Conditions


This is where you put a summary of everything your client is agreeing to when accepting the proposal and what you expect from them in return. Make sure it is mentioned clearly and approved by your legal team.

It should concisely mention all the project timelines from the beginning of the project to its culmination, pricing, payment mode, and methods. Through this, you will be clear on what is being agreed on.

The final step is to include a signature box at the end of the proposal for the client. It is through this that the partnership will become official.

3. Call To Action


Your prospects must know what to do once they are done reading your proposal. Define and highlight your contact information so that they can reach out to you if they have any queries or are interested in doing business with you. Such call-to-actions can boost sales by over 1,500%!

Tips for Writing a Winning Proposal


Wondering how you can make the potential client not only set aside time to read the proposal but also accept it? Here are a few tips that can make your business proposal stand out:

Research & Analysis

  • Know your Audience: Get clarity on your prospects' pain points, deadlines, budget, and expectations. Also, it will help you position your proposal correctly and improves your probability of winning the deal. If you understand this, you are already half done. You can reach new prospects with the help of Outplay and engage them on multiple channels.

  • Outline: If you want to propose a thoughtful business proposal, research thoroughly about it. It will help you stay focused and reduce the chances of missing out on any crucial fact. Once done, outline the major sections and write the information you want to include.

Graphics

  • Data tables and visuals: Make the proposal attention-grabbing by adding quantitative data. The data should stress the value of your business and highlight the compelling figures to make them more convincing. You can also add charts, diagrams, and graphs to establish authority and capture the client's attention.

  • Multimedia: If you propose an online business proposal over a PDF or document file, you can add multimedia elements to it. They can make it more engaging. You can add a short video in the beginning for your introduction or in between the proposal to discuss complicated parts. It will create a lasting impression on the client's mind about the hard work you are putting into it.

Language

  • Remove Jargon: There is no definitive information about how long the proposal should be. It should convey all the information you want to relay but should not be so lengthy that it takes away from the essence- how your business can help ease the client's pain points. Focus on quality, make it straightforward, and avoid too much business jargon.

  • Quality: The proposal should be professional and does not come off as sloppy. Check for grammatical errors before sending them to the client.

  • Urgency: The business proposal should create a sense of urgency to close the deal as soon as possible. Craft a proposal to make it difficult for the client to say no. Give them beyond their expectation, and eliminate frictions and objections that can come along.

Branding

  • Focus on Brand: Let your company's or business personality shine through the proposal. It will also set you apart from the competitors and create a brand image in the client's mind.

  • Social Proof: To establish credibility about your quality of work, add social proof to the business proposal. This can be the final nudge to convince potential clients to give you business. New clients are skeptical, and they might not believe in your words. But, they are more likely to trust your business if they see peers and fellow customers trusting you.

The executive summary, including the social proof from the clients you have worked with so far, can take you a long way. You can also add testimonials, case studies, and quotes from your existing clients in the qualification seduction of your business proposal.

In conclusion


Now that you’ve seen how to write a business proposal, use these tips to write a solid proposal and delight your clients and eventually expand your business.

But before you share your business proposal, you can start engaging with your prospects and expanding your customer base using Outplay. A multi-channel sales engagement platform, it helps you prospect on various sales channels. Want to know more? Click here for a free demo or opt for a 14-day free trial to get a hand experience.

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