Make a table of contents
Because a proposal is more than a few pages long, it's always best to list the different pages included. If you're sending your proposal digitally, you can hyperlink your table of contents to make it easier for the prospect to use. Even if you don't hyperlink the proposal, a table of contents is still a common courtesy to help prospects navigate and understand the documents.
Provide an executive summary
An executive summary is a brief chapter in which you describe who you are and why you're sending the proposal. Your summary can cover the different types of services you offer, team members, and the benefits of your services for the prospect. Always focus on the problem you're trying to solve. For example, if you run a marketing agency and a prospect asks about your social media marketing services, you can discuss the different ways you can boost your prospects' engagement and visibility online.
Create the main body of your proposal
The main body of the proposal should have all the information a prospect has asked for, including:
- A statement of the problem
- Your proposed solution
If you have goals in mind for what you're trying to achieve for the client, you can list SMART goals in the body of the proposal to help clients understand how results will be measured. Try to be as specific as possible when addressing your solution to ensure the client understands what you plan to do for them. If you're responding to a customer's request for a proposal, it's a good idea to incorporate everything they discussed in their request.
Understanding your pricing is key for potential customers, so you'll need to highlight how much your services cost. If your business proposal is solicited, you may have all the information you need to form accurate pricing. However, if you're sending an unsolicited proposal, you might send more general pricing and ask to discuss pricing in depth after your initial conversation with the client.
Your pricing chapter can also contain payment terms, such as when you'll send invoices and how long customers have to pay them.
Determine your terms and conditions
Your terms and conditions are where you can state the project's expected duration, payment methods, scheduling, and other expectations for the client. Your contract may also outline milestones throughout the relationship.
Write a conclusion
The conclusion summarizes the business proposal, reiterating the customer's problem and your solution. You should also thank them for their time whether or not they choose to sign the contract.
Leave room for signatures
Depending on your agreement procedure with the client, they can either sign your proposal or send you a letter of acceptance. Not all proposals need room for signatures. For example, unsolicited proposals that are more general should not be expected to be signed by the prospect and may even put them off of speaking with you because it adds pressure.
However, solicited proposals should have a place for signatures since you've likely already had a conversation with the client or they've sent you an RPF.