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.
Here is an overview of some of the important aspects of writing a business proposal letter:
1. 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. 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. 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. You need to be thorough, but also understand that your potential client will probably not read your proposal word for word.
2. Solutions: After you have written a lead paragraph on the company’s needs and problems, follow up with a solid presentation of how your business can provide solutions. The key here is to promote solutions you can deliver.
3. Benefits: All winning business proposals clearly outline the benefits of doing business with you. If your small business can offer complete confidentiality and meet tight deadlines, for instance, state it clearly in your benefits section.
4. Credibility: This is often the overlooked portion of a business proposal but all winning proposals glow with credibility. If you have worked with clients in the same field or have an award-winning business, then case studies or third-party endorsements will build credibility.
5. Samples: A business proposal with samples and evidence of your ability to deliver is vital to gaining the winning bid. A small sample of your work can show your ability to do the job.
6. Targeted Language: A winning business proposal is all about communication. Speak in a language spoken by your intended audience. If the proposal evaluators are from an engineering background or financial department, use language they would understand.
Here are a few guidelines you should follow when writing a proposal letter:
1. Understand the concept: A proposal is a sales tool, not an information packet. The purpose of the proposal is to make a persuasive case that leads to a sale. To win the business, your proposal must overcome the following hurdles: Do I know who this is? Is this proposal compliant? Does this proposal make sense? Does the solution provide value?
2. Research the customer: The proposal will not win if you fail to uncover the customer’s true decision criteria and decision-makers. These may be quite different from the criteria and decision-makers defined in a request for proposal. You must, therefore, research the customer—preferably be interviewing people in the various groups involved in the decision—to understand what’s really going on.
3. Lay the appropriate groundwork: Your proposal will be thrown out unless you’ve done marketing and sales activities that establish recognition in the mind of the decision-maker. There are two ways to do this: Create a public presence. This consists of advertising, social networking, public relations, sponsoring conferences, sending speakers to conferences, publishing newsletters, and so forth. Create a personal presence. This consists of establishing recognition through sales calls, customer meetings, emails, notes, texts, and phone calls.
4. Brainstorm your approach: Now that you’ve done your research and laid the groundwork, brainstorm the client’s situation and your own approach to helping them. Use these questions to get the discussion started: What is the customer’s problem or issue? Why is this problem important to them? What parts of the business are affected by this problem? What corporate goals are not being achieved due to this problem? How will the customer measure the success of the solution? How will we do this work?
5. Write the executive summary: Contrary to popular belief, the executive summary is not a summary of the contents of the proposal. It is a summary of the basic issues, the proposed solution, and the promised results. Effective proposal executive summaries are structured like this: problem, need or goal, expected outcome, solution overview, call to action.
In order for your letter to remain effective, stick to fulfilling these steps in creating an excellent proposal letter.
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 to them. You should employ a different approach for every client and refrain from reusing the same business proposal letter over and over again.
2. Identify a problem in your client’s business: In this step, you will also need to identify a need or a problem that is specific to your client. 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 the trend 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.
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. 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.
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 to have.
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 conducts business.
Business proposal letters are created and sent by entities to provide the details of the services that they can provide to other businesses or individuals. It is essential to create a business proposal letter if you would like to transact new business opportunities for a variety of people, organization, and companies.
Use a proposal letter to cement your business agreements formally. Create one now.