Writing a Winning Business Proposal

A business proposal communicates to customers how you can solve their problems. In addition to being well-written, they should feature the following four elements:

1. Understand Your Customer
The first step involves writing with a clear understanding of who your customer is. Ask questions and carefully listen to their answers. In-person meetings are best because they offer helpful facial and body language cues. A video call is second best because you still can pick up on some personality subtleties that might inform your proposal. Next, a phone call at least offers aural cues. Finally, an email still gets you raw information and maybe a little personality. You also can learn about your customer through online data searches and professional registries. The idea here is to gather as much information as possible to determine how your business can help your customers.

2. Customer Needs
Don’t assume that you already know about all of your customer’s needs. If you fail to understand what they truly need, you will miss a lot of information and your proposal will likely fail. Determine your customer’s needs early enough to grasp the entire scope of work to ensure that you deliver a solution that works.

3. Estimate the Cost
How much will it cost to serve your customer well? Estimation in itself can be a complex task requiring some skill and some experience. A thoughtful estimate more often leads to customer commitments, as well as defining the scope of work.

4. Details!
A solid proposal leaves no important questions unanswered. Each proposal should include assumptions, goals and objectives, fees, timeline, and terms and conditions. A well-crafted business proposal template will ensure that each of these elements are addressed every time you engage a new customer.


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