The Should’s and Shouldn’t’s to writing successful proposals


Proposals are important. We all know that. And we all know how instrumental they are to confirming a piece of business. But if you are really honest with yourself, are your proposals the very best they could be?

Before we decide how to write successful proposals, we need to identify what exactly a proposal is, and what are we trying to get out of them.

A proposal is a document that is prepared in an attempt to persuade the prospect to adopt the proposals solution to a problem or need. Let’s break that down a little bit and look at it in sections: A proposal is a document – it’s something that you send to a client – and it’s prepared in an attempt to persuade that prospect. So, we want to be using the best language and the best images to showcase our product or service to its very very best. Lastly, it is a solution to a problem or a need. Something that our prospect has told us that they are looking for, and we want to prove that we’re the best option.


So, what should a proposal do?


A proposal should sell an experience. It should prove to your prospect that what you offer is not just a product or a service, but it’s a holistic experience. It should also be tailored to exactly what your client wants and bespoke to the conversation you had with the client.

A proposal should be concise and to the point. No fluffy blurb, no faffing about with industry terminology, but to the point and succinct to what the client isn’t looking for. The whole proposal wants to be vibrant and stand out as well. You want your client to open the document or the video, or however you’re presenting the proposal, and think ‘Wow, this is an amazing option, this is really cool! I love the branding and I get where they’re coming from. I understand the experience that they’re trying to provide to me.’

When writing successful proposals, you want to prove your value. We don’t want to be discounting straight away. Instead, we want to be proving that what is included in the price that you’re quoting is un-arguable good value. We also want to offer additional products or services that will enhance their specific event.  We don’t want to just upselling for the sake of it, but instead we want to offer services that we feel will make their event much more successful.

Towards the end of your proposal, it is valuable to also explain how your prospect can work with you. Make it really easy by offering them a step-by-step guide of the process of working with you and what that looks like so that they feel completely comfortable with booking you.

Lastly, you want to show that you understand what is important to the client. This will filter through the entire proposal, bu it is often great to add an initial paragraph or introduction that details any conversations that you might have had with the client. You could add any previous experiences that they’ve had, or things that have gone wrong so that you can prove that you were listening to them.


And what shouldn’t a proposal do?


A proposal shouldn’t just sell a product or service. It shouldn’t be generic and boring. A proposal shouldn’t be too long. Unfortunately, people won’t read 17 pages worth of wording! They are much more likely to look at images and read a few bullet points.

A proposal shouldn’t just be another option for your prospects: You want to be the best option around! It also shouldn’t discount straightaway. Please please don’t use the word discount in your proposals, because before you even had any sort of negotiation or budgeting discussions, you shouldn’t need to discount if you’re proving your value and worth.

A proposal also shouldn’t blatantly upsell. And lastly, it shouldn’t make it difficult for the client. Our job as salespeople and business owners, is to make it as easy as possible for the clients to buy with buy from us.



The Should’s and Shouldn’t’s to writing successful proposals


In conclusion, these are the points of what a proposal should and shouldn’t look like. As a salesperson, you want to showcase your product or service to the very best and proposals are the quickest way of doing that. If you get them right, then your conversion will go through the roof very very quickly. You want to show the benefits of using you above everyone else, and offer that holistic experience that your client is looking for really show them your vision, and ultimately persuade your client to buy from you!


Want to learn more about writing successful proposals? We do audits, mentoring and training! Check out our one-to-one mentoring options here!



Post writing by Kate Plowright –

Categories: Proposals