A formal business proposal is perhaps the most important business document that you must learn how to write. The quality of your business proposals often determines the difference between business success and failure, whether you own a large company or you are a one-man show working as a freelancer.
Because of intense competition, businesses spend countless hours creating in-depth business proposals to send to potential clients. Some businesses are great at creating business proposals, and they win contract after contract. They know how to create business proposals that clients love to receive. Then, there are other businesses who have not learned the art of creating a great business proposal, and it seems no matter how many proposals they send out, they rarely win new clients.
So, how do you make a business proposal that your potential clients will love to receive and will persuade them to award their business to you? This article will look at how to write winning business proposals.
Before you can even begin writing a business proposal, you must first understand what a business proposal is and what it is used for. In its most basic form, a business proposal is simply a document that details the sale of a product or service to a potential client.
There are usually two types of business proposals:
• Solicited business proposals - There are two types of solicited proposals:
The first is in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP), where a government agency, a nonprofit organization, or a large company asks several companies to send them a business proposal to try to win their business, which is usually a large contract. When responding to a Request for Proposal, it is your job to write a business proposal that answers all the questions and requirements listed in the Request for Proposal.
The second type is less formal and much more common, and this is when a client who is interested in buying your product or service asks you to send them a proposal outlining the terms of the sale.
• Unsolicited business proposals - These are submitted to potential clients or buyers who have NOT asked you for a proposal. These are used to try to drum up business at companies you think will receive value from buying the products or services you sell.
Often, the terms "business plan" and "business proposal" are used interchangeably, giving one an impression that the two are the same document. This is not the case. A business proposal is an offer to sell a product or service to a prospective client.
A business plan is a planning document that you use to detail how you intend to grow your business, and you will often write one for the purpose of presenting it to a bank or to investors to try to raise money for starting and growing your business.
So, a business proposal and a business plan are completely different types of documents.
The secret to writing great business proposal lies in the three 3Ps. They include:
• Problem Statement
• Proposed Solution
• Pricing Information
An effective business proposal must be able to demonstrate to the buyer how your product or service can solve a major problem they have or fulfill a major need they have.
Here is an example of a well-written problem statement for a business proposal:
With the explosive growth of social media in today’s society, Telendo Inc. has not yet taken advantage of this powerful marketing medium, and is therefore, losing sales and valuable market share to its competitors who are aggressively using social media marketing to successfully market their products and take market share from Telendo.
The main goal of presenting a business proposal is to provide solution to a problem faced by a potential buyer. This section should be as comprehensive as possible, and able to address all the needs that you have pointed in the first section.
The solution that we propose to Telendo Inc. is for our company, SOCIAL GROWTH INC., to design and launch an aggressive social media marketing campaign for Talendo on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
The social media marketing campaign we develop for Talendo will consist of 3 major phases. These phases include... (you would then go into detail explaining how you will implement your solution and the benefits your client will receive from your solution).
The way you write this section will depend on the solution you propose, how long it will take to implement, and your pricing model. If your solution will only take a short period of time, a fee summary will be adequate. For projects that are longer and take months to complete, you may want to divide when payments are due to correspond to completing project milestones.
If you want to make your business proposal really stand out and give you the best chance at winning a sales contract from your prospective client, we recommend that you do the following:
Not all clients will provide you with clear details of their problems, needs and wants, especially if you are submitting an unsolicited business proposal. When writing your business proposal, study your competitors and the solutions they offer, and how what you offer provides a superior solution. Before a client buys from you, they will probably research your main competitors to see if what you offer is truly the best solution. You need to be one step ahead of them and prove how your solution is the best solution for their particular needs and that they will benefit far more if they buy from you than if they buy from one of your competitors.
Another key thing to remember when preparing a business proposal is to always put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients. By doing this, you will be able to give them intelligent answers to common questions they may have, such as “Why should we pay X amount of money for your solution? What is the return on investment we will receive? Can you prove to us that buying from you will be more advantageous to us than if we bought from XYZ company instead?"
The number one question your prospective client will have is why should they buy from you instead of from one of your competitors? You need to be able to explain and prove why you offer the best solution. Usually the best way to do this is to highlight your experience and expertise, and provide case studies that detail how you helped other similar companies and how they benefited from buying from you.
When you have finished your research and you truly understand the needs of your prospective client and how you can help them, you can now begin writing your business proposal. One of the best tools for writing a persuasive business proposal that helps you win new clients is to use professional business proposal software like ClientPoint. Business proposal software will format your business proposal so it looks amazing and stands out as looking much more professional and more attractive than the proposals of your competitors. This competitive edge of having a more attractive business proposal is often the difference between winning and losing a sales contract.
If you want your business proposals, quotes, and contracts to stand out and give you the best chance at winning new clients, use ClientPoint Software. It makes creating and formatting professional business proposals, quotes, and contracts fast and easy.