3DVA Writing Proposals blog

Well done! You have attracted a lead and engaged in conversation; all is going well. Now they have asked you to send a proposal. Does this fill you with excitement or dread?

In this article, we will explore:

How to write a winning proposal

Professional and consistent proposal presentation

Time-saving tips for proposal writing

I also share a downloadable proposal template at the end of the article.

How to write winning proposals

Firstly, every proposal must be client-focused and aligned with their requirements. You need knowledge of their desired outcomes and company values. For this reason, research their company and understand the brief before writing a word.

“Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet” ― Kevin Stirtz, Author

My next piece of advice is to write the proposal when you are in a positive frame of mind. This isn’t a chore, it’s the route towards winning new business. You know that your team has the expertise to help this prospect to get what they need.

How to layout a proposal

The format of a proposal will vary from company to company, however, it is usually constructed in sections:

Project outline

Start your proposal with an outline. This is a summary of what the prospect has requested, their desired outcomes and any critical points that you have discussed.

Our proposal

The next section is your solution. They may have a different product or service in mind, so explain why your idea is a sound recommendation. Include the short and long-term benefits to their organisation. Tell them how your solution adds value.

Within ‘Our proposal’, it is important to convince and reassure. What factors will persuade the prospect that your team and solutions will deliver their desired outcomes? Relevant testimonials or short case studies illustrate customer satisfaction, whilst accreditation or award icons evidence quality.

When using data to validate results, consider charts or infographics. These break up the text and deliver visual impact.

If the prospect has expressed any concerns (such as the size or location of your business) address these barriers. Let them know about your network of trusted freelance experts or how you successfully support long-distance customers.

Our process

Clarify how you work and the expected time frame for the project. What does the prospect need to provide so the deadline can be met?

Our quote

Ideally, quotes will be itemised. This helps the prospect to understand how you arrived at the figure. If the quote exceeds their budget, it allows them to alter their specifications rather than rejecting the proposal.

Next steps & contact details

State the next step and provide a means for them to get in touch to discuss or accept the proposal.

Professional and consistent proposal presentation

We all make judgements based on first impressions, so proposals must be well-presented. Whether digital or paper format, use branded pages and consistent font to ensure the layout is neat.

A quick way to lose credibility is with spelling and grammatical errors. Use checking tools to rectify mistakes and double-check that the client’s name and company are spelt correctly. Are the numbers in your quote and your contact details correct?

Finally, re-read the proposal. Does it answer their brief, add value and build trust in your company’s capabilities?

Time-saving tips for proposal writing

Writing proposals from scratch is time-consuming, especially if each one is specifically tailored to the client and their requirements. With time efficiency in mind, 3DVA recommends using a proposal template.

A good proposal template will include the company branding and standardised presentation in terms of layout and font. It may include text that applies to all clients, particularly in the ‘Our processes’ section. The contact information can be fixed, along with accreditation or award icons.

Using a template doesn’t mean standardising the entire document. Client-specific sections should be personalised for each proposal, however, a pre-populated template reduces the workload.

You can use a simple word document for your proposal, we chose to use slides that may help to stand out from the rest. Sending your proposal as a PDF will prevent it from being altered by the end-user. For extra impact, you could consider using a tool like Flipping books or Designrr.

To help you save time, we invite you to download our free proposal template. Get in touch if you would like 3DVA to brand and format it, ready for that next lead.

Client Proposal: Free Download

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Client proposals made simple