Each month, we at the Quote Roller blog are focusing on different themes to make sure your business proposals kick ass more than ever, so they can get signed faster than ever. In March, we did “Getting Started: Blocks to Start Building a Great Proposal.” This month, we are rockin’ the theme “How to Write a Business Proposal.” Today we are talking about the basic pieces of the business proposal puzzle.
OK, we at Quote Roller may love writing business proposals — it’s our nerdy passion — but we know you kind of think it’s boring. It’s obviously not the part of your awesome and creative job you jump for joy to do. In fact, considering our new sign-ups are just as high on Sunday as any other day of the week, we’re pretty sure you put it off as long as humanly possible.
But, we all know having a great sales proposal is essential to your professional success, no matter your sector or size. This is why Quote Roller tries to automate everything for you, while giving you the option of personalizing or jazzing up any part you’d like. We even provide proposal templates — and welcome our customers to share their own — to just make it as easy as possible for you.
Now, us at the Quote Roller blog are here to talk you off that boredom ledge and through the proposal writing process, as well as to provide a forum for you to talk about the process with your peers. This April, we are focusing on getting down to Writing Business Proposals. In order to do that, we have to break down the different parts of a proposal. Then, as the week and month go on, we will delve into each topic more to help you define the message of your company, while most effectively addressing the needs of your clients.
So let’s get started!
1. The Cover Letter
Just like when applying for a job, these days, the cover letter of your business proposal is the thing that entices the reader to click to read more. So don’t skimp on it! Try to make it look personal — take a moment to insert the client’s name once or twice — and make sure to highlight that one thing that makes you really great to put your best face forward!
2. Executive Summary
This is where you talk about The Problem: outlining your sector, common challenges, why it’s difficult and expensive to do whatever you do in-house. The Opportunity to outsource to a reliable expert in the field. The Solution is, of course, to outsource to an awesome company in (fill-in-blank) sector — essentially, you! Maybe include a statistic about why it’s sexy and will save your client time and money. What’s great is, for this part, in most sectors, Quote Roller’s business proposal templates do it all for you.
3. The Proposal
This is the nitty gritty of all the great things you will do for them. Prioritize your list of services based on your particular client’s needs, but don’t leave anything out. State your company’s Goals for what you can do For Them. Like with all Socratic Sales, it’s not about your features, as much as it is about the benefits your company can provide to solve your clients’ concerns. This is your chance to list your services and offer a narrative that tells you client what you can do for them.
4. Services & Pricing
It’s all about the Benjamins, baby. Not surprisingly, your client is spending half their time reading the pricing of your business proposal. We plan to talk to some experts this month to see how they develop their pricing model. Also check out Sasha’s blog post from last month about “Pricing for Professionals: Three Powerful Tips.” But here are two tips: be specific, don’t estimate your pricing, quote it, maybe high, but not too high, leaving the client to have to bring up the topic of negotiation. And don’t negotiate below your value. If you low-ball too soon, you’re always stuck at that low price.
5. The Terms
Further outlining the above two parts, but in detailed legalize. For many proposal templates, Quote Roller offers you suggested wording, but it can’t hurt to trade services with a lawyer friend to better cover you and your business’s tuchus.
This is where you give a face to your company. Talk about your collective experience and accomplishments, your history in your market, mention your most recent success story, link to your portfolio. It’s also where you introduce your team, modestly touting where you come from (university, networking base), some major accomplishments, any big professional orgs you’re a member of, and maybe if you have a dog named Shamu or Spoon. (Maybe not if you have a cat. 74 percent of people like dogs, only 41 percent like cats.)
Everyone’s favorite part. E-signatures are awesome because there’s no printing, no scanning, nothing else that can distract your client and give them time to think. There’s just sweet deal closing.