Acquiring new clients is crucial for small businesses, and even though you can sometimes manage that through referrals and networking, you’ll still need to send an official proposition through a business proposal email to potential clients. If your business emails haven’t been generating the wanted results and you’re not sure what to change, or even if you’re about to write the first one, you’re in the right place!
A business proposal letter is a proposition of cooperation between two (or more) organizations. It is a sales document that should be written in a form of proposed agreements between a supplier of a specific product or service and a user of said products or services, essentially a document that ends with a call to action. So, whether you’re selling a product or service, writing a proposal is a good idea.
There are two types of business proposal emails, the ones you send to a cold audience (cold email), meaning the people you’ve never had contact with, and proposal emails you send to potential clients who have expressed an interest in working with you. Whatever the case may be, we have gathered a foolproof plan that will secure success.
Throughout your whole email, it should be evident that you researched the company and found more than their contact information before you write a business proposal. Get to know their core values, and do a little stalking on social media.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are the best platforms for showcasing how the company sees itself. If you’re in marketing, this is your jumping-off point. Describe the disconnect between how they see themselves, and how they are perceived by others. After all, social media is where they keep introducing and reinventing themselves.
Everybody likes a bit of an individual approach so take time to learn about the company and its competitors, because once you’ve understood their process and how they’ve done things in the past, you’ll likely find something to hook them in and create a proposal that will get you hired.
If you’re planning an initial meeting where you’ll listen to the potential client’s needs and assess the strategy you’re going to use, you’ll be using a different approach. You still need to research the company and get to know their field, however, prepping for a face-to-face meeting is different from cold emailing.
In a meeting, you’ll have more opportunities to ask questions and get a more detailed look into the client’s needs, and former work, but you won’t have as much leeway when it comes to answering their questions. To better prepare for the meeting, check out our 3 easy steps tutorial.
What do you think is more eye-catching, a block of text or bullet points? Exactly! Firstly, you should address the recipient by their name (this is no place for a “to whom it may concern”), and after that, you can start with a table of contents.
If your potential client sent a request for a proposal, they’ll know what to expect, but still, making a table of contents will elevate your pitch and bring a dose of professionalism. Proposal software usually has this feature integrated, and it’s not something you have to worry about while writing.
When preparing your proposal, an executive summary or an introduction is written with the purpose of grabbing the reader’s attention. It should get right to the point and express the value you can bring to them. If you’re sending an email to a cold audience, this will likely be the first time they’re hearing about you, and that’s an opportunity you need to use to your advantage.
Think of this as a cover letter for your future client. Make it concise and easy to read, and while you’re writing the proposal think of the person that will be reading it. Put an emphasis on your strengths and avoid mentioning your shortcomings.
Those of you that already had a discovery meeting (that went well) would need to avoid this step, as it is not only unnecessary but also stretching out your proposal email, and preventing your client to jump right in and view your full proposal. Instead, summarize what you were talking about at the meeting and make a smooth transition to the following page.
After you’ve introduced yourself, move on to the conversation about the problem they’ve encountered, or aren’t even aware of yet, and quickly transition into a paragraph about how you would help them, and why you’re the person for the job. Once you’ve described the problem they have, and how you would go about fixing it, they’ll be more engaged and likely to agree to start doing business with you.
The problem you’re proposing to solve should be presented in a short manner without placing the blame on anybody, so don’t start with an attack. Furthermore, your solution to the problem should be written in an understandable way that doesn’t create confusion.
Not everybody is on the same level as you, so make sure to use words and descriptions people with a lower-level technical understanding can get. The only thing this type of thinking changes is the number of words since you’ll be using more descriptions to get your point across.
To back-up your statements and show off your skills, you can add a few testimonials of your old clients or a complete case-study that will show how good you are.
Don’t get overwhelmed when you come to this part. Obviously, you don’t want to under-price your product or service. On the other hand, you don’t want your potential client to take one look at your pricing table and give up on the proposal.
Try dividing up your services with a required and optional fee table. That way, your price will be broken down in several sections, which is more visually appealing than a single large number, and your potential client will feel like he’s saving money by avoiding the optional services, but still sticking to your core cost estimate.
If you’re sending proposal letters to a cold audience, you most often don’t know their budget and if you’re not sure how to price your work, we have an amazing break down on our blog that will help you find the best model for you.
Quick tip – calling this section “Investment” will work much better compared to the word “Cost”, as investing alludes the return of resources they’ll give you for a certain service.
After the pricing, include your terms and conditions. Be exact, since this is the legal part, there is no need for fluff.
Just like every business letter, you’ll want to end your business proposal email with a call to action. The reason you’re sending your business proposal is to accomplish a specific task and your CTA should be a reminder of that. The object of your email may be evident to you, but that doesn’t mean it will translate to your potential client.
The CTA can be anything from “get back to me” to a specific request or a question that requires an answer which will ensure continued communication because nothing is worst than spending time on a proposal, only not to hear from them ever again.
With all of your content ready, go over it once more and make sure everything is concise and easy to follow. When you address the recipient, your focus should be on quality, not quantity. When you finish, give your proposal email to a colleague to make sure everything is correctly worded and on-brand. Finnish everything with a greeting and contact information.
Now that you have all the information, get to it! If you’re saturated with information right now, don’t worry, just jump to our proposal templates where you can choose from a wide range of templates and find the right one for your small business.
The platform is easy to use with a variety of customizable templates that already have everything we mentioned incorporated, and if you’re writing a business proposal in response to a request, you can add a contract that’s easy to sign and pay!
With our integrated payments feature, clients can pay instantly using PayPal, Stripe or GoCardless.
A proposal like this will eliminate the need for a formal, longer-format email since the proposal itself has the answers to all of their questions. This will make space for a short, personal note in the email itself, and the link in the email will lead to your proposal. If you had your initial meeting, and are sending a proposal per their request, your email will be easy to read and it could look something along the lines of this:
Give it a try and tell us what you think!