You already know that writing a winning business proposal is kind of a big deal. It can make or break the start of a long and profitable business relationship between you and your client. No pressure, but you can’t afford to screw it up.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered with some critical insights to help you create a proposal that will knock your client’s socks off!
But, before we get down to the nitty gritty, make sure you’ve done your prep work and selected a business proposal format that speaks to your audience. Choose a template that fits your industry and niche. This is half the battle to creating a winning proposal.
The second half of the battle requires that you create high-quality content that is informative, engaging, and personalized to your audience. Ideally, your business proposal format and content should work cohesively to help your client “realize the need” of hiring you, and that you are their best and only option.
To achieve this, your proposal must clearly and persuasively communicate these four things.
1. Choose the right tone of voice
It’s not just what you say that matters, it’s how you say it. The tone of voice you use in your writing helps prospects connect with you on an emotional level and keeps them engaged throughout your proposal.
Although most people prefer a conversational voice in business writing, you have to decide what would be the most impactful for your prospective clients. For example, a conversational tone may be insulting for those who prefer communication that is more intellectually based, including the use of technical or professional jargon. Bottom line, whatever voice you decide to use needs to connect with your audience.
2. Get to the point quickly
A business proposal is not the place to write a long-form piece of content. Remember who you’re talking to. Most business professionals are extremely busy and don’t have the time or desire to read a novel. Don’t take it personally. Just get to the point, and you will be appreciated for it.
3. Use plain and concrete language
We’ve established that there are those few that prefer business communication that is technical, dry, and boring. Leave that writing for your legal and government documents, insurance reports, instruction manuals. For your proposal, just keep things simple. This doesn’t mean you should dumb it down. Just use words and phrases that the average adult doesn’t need a dictionary to translate.
4. Use the right design elements
Although you’ve got a large selection of professionally designed customized templates to choose from, there are still a few design elements you need to keep in mind. Each format includes an option to personalize it for your business, which helps you add a unique flavor to your proposal. But, some people can get carried away.
For example, adding funky, over-the-top font styles or “large and in charge” headings may backfire creating a jarring experience for your reader. You’ll also run the risk of looking unprofessional with more conservative prospects who may see your “proposal flair” as a signal that you won’t understand their more traditional business. Either way, it’s not a risk worth taking so, keep your formatting as simple as possible.
5. Be persuasive
You shouldn’t be so worried about succinctness that you whittle your content down to just facts and data points. You still need to tell a story! Provide some context, and use those facts to tell a meaningful story. The purpose of your business proposal isn’t just to inform and educate. It also needs to sell. You’ve got to be able to persuade your prospective clients why they need do business with you and why they shouldn’t wait another day to commit.
Finally, it’s important to qualify your solution. Include your proven track record, past client ROI, years in business, years of experience, educational background, and credible professional associations like being BBB Accredited with the Better Business Bureau. By social proof and accreditations, you can score big points toward winning the deal.