8 Tips for Writing Killer Business Proposals

Content Marketing 11th, Jun 2013


1.) Break it down to one awesome headline selling point. It’s great to have multiple selling points, but you should be able to convince clients to choose you in the very first sentence. This sentence should encapsulate exactly what challenges your market faces and the unique solution that your company offers. Your headline selling point should be:

  • Concise – Leave out superfluous language. “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.”

  • Bold – Use authoritative and confident language.

  • Honest – Honesty is always the best policy. Don’t say you are the best if you’re not the best. Don’t say you have a unique solution if others have the same solution.

  • Impactful – explain why your company matters. Why should customers care about what you do or how you do it? Why should clients care? Why should the world care?

2.) Talk about your competitors. Don’t shy away from a little friendly competition. Your potential clients already will have researched them, and not talking about them is a sign of cowardice and dishonesty. You should be willing to describe your competitors’:

  • Size – what are the resources of your competitors?

  • Strengths – what is your competitor doing right? Are you adopting their strengths in your own business model? Why or why not?

  • Weaknesses – what are your competitors doing wrong? Why do you think you can beat them?

  • Strategy – what can you expect from your competitors’? How will they likely react to you acquiring new business?

3.) Put the hours into your long-term planning. You should be able to tell your clients how your relationship could look in five years. They should know exactly how much value they will be getting from your relationship at any time.

4.) Don’t neglect the operations plan. Your operations plan should encapsulate everything, including these often-overlooked details:

  • Logistics – how will you handle deliverables? Client support? Missed deadlines?  Unforeseen difficulties in staffing or supply?

  • Legal structure – how will you handle liabilities or bankruptcies?

5.) Give a sense of honest urgency. Come up with honest reasons why your business should launch as soon as possible. In addition, give them reasons why working with your company will lead to better outcomes.

6.) Add a personal touch. Personalize your business proposal to each client. Show that you accept and understand your clients’ particular values and needs.

7.) Identify all relevant stakeholders. People like to know exactly who they’re getting into business with. Prospective clients should know:

  • your supply chain, from start to finish

  • who you contract from, for legal, HR, administrative, or technical support.

  • who other clients are, if there is any possibility at all of conflicts of interest.

8.) Send it in hard copy. Hard copies show that you are invested in their business and not just spamming them. It is also typically emotionally more difficult for potential clients to throw a hard copy proposal in the trash without looking at it, than for them to delete an email.

By: Steve Toth

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