I found this article today about writing proposals and I think that it is wonderful. I realize that this is supposed to be a tech column, but as a consultant I write an awful lot of proposals and there is some good info here. One point that I’m not sure I saw made in the article is that the proposal works best when it is a formality. I find that sales go better if I discuss everything, including pricing, in advance, and then the proposal becomes a document for my contact to use to sell the project within his organization. A lot of people use the proposal to get their foot in the door, but that leads to making a vague proposal and the more customized facts you can have in a proposal the stronger it is.
Every proposal should include:
- An introduction or background that explains the problem your client has and how your company is the right choice to solve it.
- A description of past success that your company has exhibited in solving similar problems. I include bios of key staff also as that is one of our strengths.
- A detailed description of the work that is to be done and your approach to doing it.
- Benefits to the client in the event that they hire you.
- A timeline.
- And last but not least, a call to action. Clearly explain what the next steps are. If your client can’t figure out how to engage you then there’s a problem. I solve this by saying something like “Sarrel Group can begin work on this project with ten business days of written approval” followed by fields for signature and date.
The writer of the post is Felice Philip Verrecchia and he did an excellent job. If you write a lot of proposals, then you need to check this out. He’s got links to other resources as well.