Introduction | Getting Started
How to write a great proposal introduction
After your potential client has seen your cover, this is the first page they will see. This is why it's important to hit them immediately with the value that you'll be providing them.
This doesn't mean telling them what you'll do, it means telling them what they will get.
Here's an example of what not to do:
"ABC Sales Consultants will provide a 2-day training session for your entire sales team. We'll teach them about how to cold call and how to send an effective and engaging email."
Not bad, but...
Doesn't sound terrible on the face of it until you realise that actually,
a 2-day training session isn't what that person wants.
They want their sales team smashing targets every month which is why you'd write something more like this:
You want every one of your sales team smashing target every month.
This is why we're not going to run through 2 days worth of Powerpoint slides. Instead, we're going to analyse what each of your reps need to do in order to smash their targets every month and simply teach them exactly what they need to know in order to do that. That's it.
See the difference?
One says "This is what we're going to do" the other says "This is what you're going to get". That's how you want your introductions to be.
It's also important to ensure your introduction is not too long.
This is the headline of your proposal only.
Get them to continue reading and never give prices away in your intro.
What's In The Box?
the details OF what you'll get
Describing your product or service.
There are two things this page needs to be: readable and understandable. That's it.
Making it readable
The easiest way is to use bullet points, short sentences and lots of line breaks. This way, your reader won't see a wall of text and run for the hills.
It's a good idea to use different header types too.
If you highlight this text then click either H1, H2 or H3, you'll get different header styles.
You can also click the quote icon when highlighting to call out an important piece of information.
This is the important information I was talking about
Keep the language simple too. There's no need to overcomplicate things.
Even if you're writing for a smart audience, it's still effort to 'translate' complicated, uncommon words into 'regular English' as such.
If your potential client can't understand what you're saying, they're never going to give you money. You must talk in their language. The most common mistake is using too much jargon.
Too much industry language.
If I'm reading a proposal from an accountant, I don't want it to be telling me about the ins and outs of what they're doing behind the scenes.
I just want to know what it means for me.
Talk in the language of your reader.
The death of every proposal: Jargon
It goes without saying that jargon is the quickest way to find your proposal in the deleted pile. Sometimes it's unavoidable. Maybe you need to explain a piece of software you use or a certain industry term. It happens and you can't always avoid it but don't assume they know what it is.
Here's a trick:
Say the jargon thing > Then write "which means that" > Then answer the question.
Here's an example from an accounting firm:
Audit Cover > Which means that > In the event that the Inland Revenue decide to audit your books, we'll have to work with them for months which would cost you tens of thousands. Audit cover is a small fee each month meaning if that does happen, we'll pay, not you.
Timescales & Process
detail your process
Try to organise things in a "step 1", "step 2" type format.
Just a sentence for each one is great. You want your client to feel they understand what's going to happen next so they're not in the dark. Don't go overboard though, you don't want to confuse the daylights out of them.
Why should you include members of your team in your proposals?
1 word. Familiarity.
People buy from companies they're familiar with.
They like people they're familiar with. It's a nice reason to have a little boast about the size of your team or where you're from.
It's a good excuse to get some nice photos in your proposal and sell the accomplishments of your team members.
If you're on your own - cool, but don't be tempted to call this page 'About me'. Instead, try something that is a little more intriguing like 'He did what??'
Try it :-)
The second most important page on Your proposal.
I say second most important because if you don't get your introduction right, nothing else matters.
Firstly, what to call the page with the price on it. Some obvious options are:
But, the problem with words like 'Price', and 'Cost', or any of the other examples listed above, is that none of them implies any sort of return.
So I recommend 'Investment'
Your service might not provide a strict 'investment' but it surely provides value somehow...or you wouldn't be in business.
That value is an 'investment'.
Using the word Investment on this page has seen our customers get more joy with their proposals. I think this is in large part to 2 things:
- Investment sounds expensive so when they then see your pricing and the value it offers, they're often pleased
- An investment provides a return. This is what your client is ultimately looking for and you are delivering.
Displaying your pricing
Built into Better Proposals are Quote Tables. These are magic tables that pull in your products and pricing (which you can set up in Settings).
Click the green 'Add to this page' tab on the right and select Quote Table. From there you can add products and pricing.
Keep the descriptions basic.
The details should be in your 'What you get' page.
Soften the blow
If your price is fairly high-ticket and might need a little justifying, there's no better way than putting a testimonial on this page saying what great value your price is.
It's a great touch and will work wonders.
"I'm not giving them their money back"
Guarantees come in all shapes and sizes.
The most common guarantee we all know about is the old 'Money-Back Guarantee'.
This is good...but it has a major loophole:
Say you buy a website with a money-back guarantee for £1,000.
You pay your money but the site sucks and you want to get your cash back. Are they really going to give it straight back to you? No chance.
They'll want to work it out. This renders it useless.
A better guarantee
The better way to do it is to come up with a guarantee that handles the part your client will have an issue with.
Here's an example:
Our old software business used to build £20k - £30k pieces of software. Not an easy sell to tiny businesses so this was our guarantee.
Pay 10% now into Escrow. We will design all the screenshots for the software for your business. We'll come to your offices and walk you through each one. If you don't feel we've understood your business you can send me a text or email afterwards and with no questions asked, we'll release the money back to you.
This dealt with their biggest issue being "What the hell am I actually buying? What's it going to look like"
Think of your client.
What's their fear? Now, put a guarantee around that.
Here's what to do next
This section is simple. Just tell them what they need to do next and what will happen after. That's all.
This works best by listing 3 things:
Step 1: Usually 'Sign below'
Step 2: Could be arranging a call, or a date, or whatever the first step in doing their work is
Step 3: Raising a deposit invoice maybe.
"Only you know your situation and business but keeping it simple and clearly explaining to them what they need to do to sign the proposal off is the most important thing."
Allowing them to sign the proposal online
Click the green 'Add to this page' tab on the right and click:
'Digital Signature Approval'
That will add a signing box to allow your clients to sign the proposal and make it a legal document.
Terms & Conditions
USER DISCLAIMER (Please Delete): This agreement may not be suitable for your circumstances and we recommend you seek legal advice before using it. Better Proposals does not take any responsibility for any events that arise as a result of your use of this agreement.
Terms and Conditions
This Agreement (the “Agreement”) is made as of [Date], by and between [Company Name] (the “Company”), and [Consultant Name](“Consultant”).
1. Consulting Relationship.
During the term of this Agreement, Consultant will provide consulting services to the Company as described on [PAGE NAME] hereto (the “Services”). Consultant represents that Consultant is duly licensed (as applicable) and has the qualifications, the experience and the ability to properly perform the Services. Consultant shall use Consultant’s best efforts to perform the Services such that the results are satisfactory to the Company.
As consideration for the Services to be provided by Consultant and other obligations, the Company shall pay to Consultant the amounts specified on [PAGE NAME] hereto at the times specified therein.
Consultant shall not be authorized to incur on behalf of the Company any expenses and will be responsible for all expenses incurred while performing the Services [except as expressly specified] unless otherwise agreed to by the Company’s [Title of Officer], which consent shall be evidenced in writing for any expenses in excess of [Expenses]. As a condition to receipt of reimbursement, Consultant shall be required to submit to the Company reasonable evidence that the amount involved was both reasonable and necessary to the Services provided under this Agreement.
4. Term and Termination.
Consultant shall serve as a consultant to the Company for a period commencing on Commencement Date and terminating on the earlier of (a) the date Consultant completes the provision of the Services to the Company under this Agreement, or (b) the date Consultant shall have been paid the maximum amount of consulting fees.
Notwithstanding the above, either party may terminate this Agreement at any time upon [Days Notice] business days’ written notice. In the event of such termination, Consultant shall be paid for any portion of the Services that have been performed prior to the termination.
Should either party default in the performance of this Agreement or materially breach any of its obligations under this Agreement, including but not limited to Consultant’s obligations under the Confidential Information and Invention Assignment Agreement between the Company and Consultant referenced below, the non-breaching party may terminate this Agreement immediately if the breaching party fails to cure the breach within Days business days after having received written notice by the non-breaching party of the breach or default.
5. Independent Contractor.
Consultant’s relationship with the Company will be that of an independent contractor and not that of an employee.
6. Method of Provision of Services.
Consultant shall be solely responsible for determining the method, details and means of performing the Services. Consultant may, at Consultant’s own expense, employ or engage the services of such employees, subcontractors, partners or agents, as Consultant deems necessary to perform the Services (collectively, the “Assistants”). The Assistants are not and shall not be employees of the Company, and Consultant shall be wholly responsible for the professional performance of the Services by the Assistants such that the results are satisfactory to the Company.
6.1 No Authority to Bind Company. Consultant acknowledges and agrees that Consultant and its Assistants have no authority to enter into contracts that bind the Company or create obligations on the part of the Company without the prior written authorization of the Company.
6.2 No Benefits. Consultant acknowledges and agrees that Consultant and its Assistants shall not be eligible for any Company employee benefits and, to the extent Consultant otherwise would be eligible for any Company employee benefits but for the express terms of this Agreement, Consultant (on behalf of itself and its employees) hereby expressly declines to participate in such Company employee benefits.
6.3 Withholding; Indemnification. Consultant shall have full responsibility for applicable withholding taxes for all compensation paid to Consultant or its Assistants under this Agreement, and for compliance with all applicable labor and employment requirements with respect to Consultant’s self-employment, sole proprietorship or other form of business organization, and with respect to the Assistants, including state worker’s compensation insurance coverage requirements and any U.S. immigration visa requirements. Consultant agrees to indemnify, defend and hold the Company harmless from any liability for, or assessment of, any claims or penalties with respect to such withholding taxes, labor or employment requirements, including any liability for, or assessment of, withholding taxes imposed on the Company by the relevant taxing authorities with respect to any compensation paid to Consultant or its Assistants.
7. Supervision of Consultant’s Services.
All of the services to be performed by Consultant, including but not limited to the Services, will be as agreed between Consultant and the Company’s [Supervisor’s Title]. Consultant will be required to report to the [Supervisor’s Title] concerning the Services performed under this Agreement. The nature and frequency of these reports will be left to the discretion of the [Supervisor’s Title].
8. Consulting or Other Services for Competitors.
Consultant represents and warrants that Consultant does not presently perform or intend to perform, during the term of the Agreement, consulting or other services for, or engage in or intend to engage in an employment relationship with, companies who businesses or proposed businesses in any way involve products or services which would be competitive with the Company’s products or services, or those products or services proposed or in development by the Company during the term of the Agreement (except for those companies listed). If, however, Consultant decides to do so, Consultant agrees that, in advance of accepting such work, Consultant will promptly notify the Company in writing, specifying the organization with which Consultant proposes to consult, provide services, or become employed by and to provide information sufficient to allow the Company to determine if such work would conflict with the terms of this Agreement, including the terms of the Confidentiality Agreement, the interests of the Company or further services which the Company might request of Consultant. If the Company determines that such work conflicts with the terms of this Agreement, the Company reserves the right to terminate this Agreement immediately. In no event shall any of the Services be performed for the Company at the facilities of a third party or using the resources of a third party.
9. Confidentiality Agreement.
Consultant shall sign, or has signed, a Confidentiality Agreement, on or before the date Consultant begins providing the Services.
10. Conflicts with this Agreement.
Consultant represents and warrants that neither Consultant nor any of the Assistants is under any pre-existing obligation in conflict or in any way inconsistent with the provisions of this Agreement. Consultant represents and warrants that Consultant’s performance of all the terms of this Agreement will not breach any agreement to keep in confidence proprietary information acquired by Consultant in confidence or in trust prior to commencement of this Agreement. Consultant warrants that Consultant has the right to disclose and/or or use all ideas, processes, techniques and other information, if any, which Consultant has gained from third parties, and which Consultant discloses to the Company or uses in the course of performance of this Agreement, without liability to such third parties. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Consultant agrees that Consultant shall not bundle with or incorporate into any deliveries provided to the Company herewith any third party products, ideas, processes, or other techniques, without the express, written prior approval of the Company. Consultant represents and warrants that Consultant has not granted and will not grant any rights or licenses to any intellectual property or technology that would conflict with Consultant’s obligations under this Agreement. Consultant will not knowingly infringe upon any copyright, patent, trade secret or other property right of any former client, employer or third party in the performance of the Services.
11.1 Amendments and Waivers. Any term of this Agreement may be amended or waived only with the written consent of the Company.
11.2 Sole Agreement. This Agreement, constitutes the sole agreement of the parties and supersedes all oral negotiations and prior writings with respect to the subject matter hereof.
11.3 Notices. Any notice required or permitted by this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be deemed sufficient upon delivery, when delivered personally or by overnight courier or sent by email or fax (upon customary confirmation of receipt), or forty-eight (48) hours after being deposited in the U.S. mail as certified or registered mail with postage prepaid, addressed to the party to be notified at such party’s address or fax number as set forth on the signature page or as subsequently modified by written notice.
11.4 Choice of Law. The validity, interpretation, construction and performance of this Agreement shall be governed by the laws of [jurisdiction], without giving effect to the principles of conflict of laws.
11.5 Severability. If one or more provisions of this Agreement are held to be unenforceable under applicable law, the parties agree to renegotiate such provision in good faith. In the event that the parties cannot reach a mutually agreeable and enforceable replacement for such provision, then (i) such provision shall be excluded from this Agreement, (ii) the balance of the Agreement shall be interpreted as if such provision were so excluded and (iii) the balance of the Agreement shall be enforceable in accordance with its terms.
11.6 Counterparts. This Agreement may be executed in counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original, but all of which together will constitute one and the same instrument.
11.7 Advice of Counsel. EACH PARTY ACKNOWLEDGES THAT, IN EXECUTING THIS AGREEMENT, SUCH PARTY HAS HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEEK THE ADVICE OF INDEPENDENT LEGAL COUNSEL, AND HAS READ AND UNDERSTOOD ALL OF THE TERMS AND PROVISIONS OF THIS AGREEMENT. THIS AGREEMENT SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED AGAINST ANY PARTY BY REASON OF THE DRAFTING OR PREPARATION HEREOF.
The parties have executed this Agreement as of the date first written above.
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