Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a marketing professional, writing an effective proposal to a client can have a big impact on your business. It can mean the difference between financial success or failure for your company and your future business goals. Take a look at these key proposal writing tips.
Focus on the Client’s Needs
First and foremost, remember the reason you’re writing your proposal – you’re selling. Whether you’re selling a tangible product or your ideas and services, you’re still trying to convince the client to buy what you’re selling. To be successful, it’s important to focus on the wants and needs of the person receiving your proposal. Effective proposal writing doesn’t always start on paper. It starts with the first handshake, formal or informal meeting, or discussion with your client – everything that makes up your client’s experience. A successful proposal begins by building a good client relationship. Before you start writing, ask important questions and be a good listener. Your proposal’s effectiveness is based solely on the value you bring to the table.
Having good listening skills from the start will help you create the best client experience possible. Click here to read more about Effective Listening Skills.
Get to the Point Quickly
Your proposal should define a problem and offer a solution. State facts, not opinions, to support your argument for approval. State your strongest and best selling point clearly at the beginning of the proposal, in one or two sentences if possible. As you keep writing, make reference to your main selling point throughout the proposal. Don’t expect that your client will always make logical connections along the way – spell them out! Although every proposal is different in scope and length, keep your proposal as short as possible but make sure it covers all the necessary information. Focus on the main selling point and what the client really wants to know, which is always the value and price of your services.
Read and Revise
Proposal writing is hard work and many people don’t enjoy it, but it’s a necessary part of doing business. Don’t worry if you have to edit and rewrite your proposal. This doesn’t mean that you’re a poor writer, as even the best business writers have to revise and rewrite. When writing, be meticulous with grammar, spelling, editing and format. Your proposal doesn’t have to contain a lot of fancy language and fluff to impress the reader. When you read through your proposal draft, underline all sentences or phrases that talk about about results and benefits for the client in red. When you get to the end, you should see lots of red. If you don’t, revise and rewrite.
Proposal writing is a skill. Like any other skill, it takes time and practice to master. Think of your proposal as a tool to build a strong, long-lasting relationship with your client. Focus on their experience, and put time and effort into understanding their business objectives. That is what makes a winning proposal.