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proposal writing tips

How to Write a Business Proposal Letter

February 27, 2024

How to Write a Business Proposal Letter

A business proposal letter is a written document that proposes cooperation and outlines how your company's products or services can benefit a potential client or an investor. The business opportunity that might arise out of your proposal could be a make-it-or-break-it occasion, so writing an effective letter is probably one of the most important things you can do for your company. However, for the letter to be effective, it needs to be both detailed and concise as well as successfully convey how your business can benefit your client. Here is an overview of some of the important aspects of writing a business proposal:

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Form vs. content

A crucial part of your business proposal is the content of the letter that you will write. The letter must outline the service you are proposing to offer as well as explain how that service meets the needs of your client or investor. Is it competitive price-wise? Does it fill a gap in the market? Will it make your client's business more productive? The letter you write must clearly identify a problem that your client has as well as how your business intends to resolve it.

The other aspect of your letter that is just as important is the form. How will you convey your message? In order to capture the attention of your prospective clients and convince them that your proposal is worth considering, your letter has to be written concisely and clearly. Make sure that you use only as much space as is truly necessary -- you need to be thorough but also understand that your potential client will probably not read your proposal word for word.

Solicited vs. unsolicited business proposal letter

There are two types of business proposals -- the solicited and unsolicited kind. Both the content and the format of your letter will depend on which type of proposal you are writing (https://www.inc.com/encyclopedia/business-proposals.html). A solicited proposal is usually a response to an RFP (Request for Proposal) -- a formal request that clients send when deciding to make a purchase. Apart from addressing your client's need, the solicited business proposal letter therefore also needs to highlight how you and your business stand out among your competitors. Can you offer more goods for a lower price? Are your goods of a higher quality?

On the other hand, the unsolicited business proposal needs to not only highlight how you fare in comparison to your competitors but also convince your client that they need your goods or services in the first place. In other words, why have you decided to send the proposal letter to this specific client? How is your product responsive to this client's needs? Make sure that you recognize the difference between the two types of proposal letters and what is required of you in each of them.

Steps for writing an effective business proposal letter

This section will offer a 4-step outline for writing the most effective business proposal letter. In order for the letter to remain effective, stick to fulfilling each step with one single paragraph -- this will allow you to address all important aspects of the proposal letter while limiting yourself from writing excessively. 

Step 1. Capture your client's attention

While this may seem simple, capturing your audience's attention doesn't only involve writing a catchy first paragraph -- keep in mind that your client probably receives hundreds of catchy letters each month. Rather, in the first paragraph the trick in trying to attract attention is to analyze your audience and determine what arguments and issues would be captivating for them (https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2013/07/01/6-steps-to-influence-others-with-your-business-writing/#189e84a9509f). For example, the first sentence could be a punchy rhetorical question or an edgy statement about your own business. In any case, it should reflect that you have taken the specifics of that client's business into consideration and conducted a thorough analysis of how your business could supplement its operation. This means that you should employ a different approach for every client and refrain from reusing the same business proposal letter over and over again.

Step 2. Identify a problem in your client's business

In this step, you will also need to identify a need or problem that is specific to your client (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/37316). Are they unhappy with the existing providers of the service you are able to offer? Do they need a more cost effective solution? Make sure to identify a tangible problem and to demonstrate that you have done your homework in relation to their specific needs.

In this paragraph, you should be able to provide a statistic or a concrete detail that you have observed about trends in your client's operations or in the market in general. This will give your analysis credibility and show that you have given serious thought to this business proposal.

Step 3. Explain how you are best equipped to resolve this problem

The third paragraph should briefly outline what makes you the best company to resolve your client's problem or issue (https://www.inc.com/encyclopedia/business-proposals.html). Is it your experience? Is it the superior quality of your product? Or is it a new product that you believe fits really well with your customer's business? Make sure that you focus on one or two traits that particularly distinguish your business, rather than providing a laundry list of benefits which will end up diluting your overall message. In this paragraph, make sure to also provide a sentence or two about yourself and how your qualifications and skills make you well-equipped for the job. If you feel that bullet points will make this section clearer, feel free to use them.

Step 4. Respond to their objections

One of the most important steps in writing a good business proposal letter is often left out. In addition to explaining your client's problem and offering a solution, keep in mind that it is just as important to address potential objections or doubts that you can imagine your client having (https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2013/07/01/6-steps-to-influence-others-with-your-business-writing/#6af3cc7509fc). This paragraph will once again show your prospective client that you are thinking thoroughly about what you are proposing. Are you and a competitor offering a similar service at the same price? Do you feel the client is hesitant to choose a new service provider? Here, you should both recognize some of the more general objections and imagine what that specific client's doubts would be based upon your idea of how he/she conducts business.


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