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Proposal Breakdown: The Print Industry Needs a Slap

What happens when an entire industry does exactly the same thing?

Everyone in the print industry sends the exact same boring, repetitive, bland looking quotes. This is what they should send instead.

Proposal Format

They've emailed their potential client and attached a PDF which is bad for a number of reasons. Firstly, PDF attachments often trigger spam warnings, especially if you don't have much of an established email correspondance with them. Secondly, the file size can be an issue when viewing on mobiles. Lastly, the orientation of a PDF is A4 typically which, when viewing on a 4 inch mobile phone screen, doesn't work very well so your client will need to 'pinch and zoom' their way through your proposal. Not fun. Always make sure, whatever you're sending your clients they can view it on their phones. Over 70% of all proposals are opened on phones (according to our statistics). Bear that in mind.

Where's the rest of it?

Basically, the only thing that exists here is a quote. Now, look, it's a £60 quote for some flyers. A full blown proposal would be a daft amount of effort to go through but my point is, everything I'm about to suggest below is essentially a one off effort and using the template features in Better Proposals would be less effort to send something far better, even if it is for a low cost item. I had this conversation with someone once whose response was "I don't want it to look like I put too much effort into low cost sales". Really bro? You don't want to show your customers you put effort into winning their business? Enjoy the Job Centre, mate.


You sell visual items. Everything about the print industry is all about visual impact so get some amazing photos taken. If you're in the South East of England then get in touch with Amanda Lucas Photography and get some photos of your equipment, your products, you packing them up and giving them to customers. £200 spent with a photographer today would last you the next 5 years easily. 10p a day. Can you afford 10p a day for world class customised photography to your business instead of using nasty stock photography or worse yet, none at all? It makes a huge difference.

"It's Not a F***ing Game"

I don't usually swear in my videos but I couldn't help myself. This shocked me. There are no instructions at all on how to proceed. They send the quote and that's it. No 'If you want to go ahead, let us know by signing here'. Nothing. Just leaving it completely up to the person receiving this thing to figure out. This is dreadful. If you are sending quotes or proposals and don't provide a clear instruction on what to do then you seriously need to get that sorted.

Who do I call if I have questions?

In every print business, there's usually one person that's going to be handling the enquiry so put that person's picture, name and contact details in the proposal. If I'm getting these flyers printed and I know I can call or email John, I've got his details and I can see what he looks like, that makes me feel happier as a buyer. If you're not convinced, can you think of any downsides to doing this?

Do You Guarantee Your Work?

If I order some business cards from you and the print is not good enough and the quality isn't there, would you reprint it for free? Would you reprint it without asking me when it came off the production line? If so, this is a massive USP. have built almost an entire business around this exact thing. They're not the fastest, not the best quality but they will reprint for any reason or no reason without asking questions. Now they're one of the biggest print companies in the UK.

Go Namedropping

Who have you worked for? Anything recognisable? Get those logos on your proposals! This is so so important and actually, most print companies I know of have all done at least a small handful of printing for household names.


This is a very poor document asking for business. Call it what you like but that's what it is. It's a single document saying "Please give me money so I can print your flyers" and this is the best they can come up with? The worst bit isn't that this particular print company sent something so bad, it's that this is normal. Don't be normal. Be different. Be better. Send something better because quite honestly, if you're in business and have been for any length of time then I can say with certainty that you're better than that.

If you'd like to get your proposal reviewed then send your proposal through to adam [at] betterproposals [dot eye oh] and I'll get yours in the queue.

Don't worry, if you want anything blocked out in the video or censored then that's cool.

Adam Hempenstall's profile image
Adam Hempenstall is the CEO and Founder of Better Proposals. He started his first web design business at 14 and has since written four books and built an international movement around sending better proposals. Having helped his customers win $500,000,000 in the last 12 months alone, he’s launched the first ever Proposal University where he shares best practices on writing and designing proposals. He co-runs a once-a-year festival called UltraMeet and is a massive FC Barcelona fan.