How to Create a Business Proposal That Closes Deals

When it comes to business proposals, there’s always room for improvement.

Small tweaks can make a big difference towards whether or not a client says “yes”—and how quickly they sign off.

Last year, over 1 million proposals were sent with our software, and we analyzed them to uncover trends. We dove into the details of what successful proposals have in common, as well as best practices that our users rely on.

We found out that winning proposals are interactive and feature multimedia content. In this post, we cover smart tips for creating proposals, based on our research.

For all of our the best proposal strategies, download The State of Proposals 2022.

How to Create a Winning Business Proposal

4 min. read

Don’t start from scratch

Our first tip is to not reinvent the wheel. Only 2% of the proposals sent with our software start from scratch. The other 98% begin with something to build on top of (64% of proposals begin with a template and 34% are copied from existing proposals).

Starting with a template not only saves you time but it also ensures that you send the proposal quickly. You have a higher chance of closing the deal when your conversations are fresh in the prospects mind.

We have dozens of free proposal templates to choose from, and you can search by industry.

Ask clients for information using forms

Through our analysis of over 1 million proposals, we found that proposals with client intake forms have a 119.4% higher close rate. They also close 26% faster than proposals that don’t include forms.

Never thought of adding an intake form to your proposal?

Doing so makes the proposal more engaging and interactive, shows your company’s professionality and tech savviness, and makes it clear to the client that your service will be top-notch.

Inside of Proposify, you can build any form your imagination comes up with.

Maybe you like to send customers a t-shirt and a gift box. You could ask for their t-shirt size and whether they like coffee or tea so you can get a gift box they’ll actually enjoy.

Proposals with client intake forms

Or you might ask for important business information with your form, such as the client’s address and business entity type.

Consider what information you would like to know if they seal the deal and put it in a form in your proposal. By walking them over the line to the start of the onboarding process, you’ll increase the chances of them actually becoming a client.

Cover all the essential details

When creating a proposal, make sure to cover all your bases.

While every company might title this sections differently, we’ve found that proposals that close are likely to include these sections:

  1. Cover Page

  2. Executive Summary

  3. Approach/Solution

  4. About Us/Our Team

  5. Deliverables

  6. Pricing

  7. Terms and Conditions/Sign Off

  8. Either case studies or testimonials

Proposal structure outline

Make sure to include all of this information in your proposal, and title the sections to match your brand. For example, if you favor a straight-forward style you might name an approach section “What We’ll Do.”

Add 3-7 images

When diving into the best proposal structure and content, we found that multimedia matters.

Proposals with images are 72% more likely to close and will close 20% faster.

You might include icons and illustrations of your process, philosophy, or approach, like this example from our inbound marketing proposal template:

Or you might include photography that showcases your work and sets the mood, like this collage from our catering proposal template:

And don’t forget to show off your team with on-brand headshots, like this team page in our enterprise software proposal template:

Add a video

By adding a video to your proposal, you can increase the chances it will close by 41%. Plus, videos with proposals close 26% faster.

Proposify integrates with Vidyard so you can pull videos from your Vidyard content library.

You can also add YouTube or Wistia links to link to video explainers, case study videos, or informal webcam videos.

Adding a video to your proposal template

You can add a custom thumbnail, resize the video preview, and arrange it anywhere on the proposal page.

Consider including pricing options

When creating a proposal, one of the most important sections is of course the pricing or investment page.

Through our research, we found that proposals that include fee tables have a 35.8% higher close rate than table-less counterparts.

Perhaps that’s because clients love seeing pricing options. Or maybe it’s because pricing options help to contextualize the value of what you offer and shine a spotlight on the clear winner. This phenomenon doesn’t just apply to proposals. Other research shows that pricing options increase conversion rates for webpages too.

With Proposify, you can create a pricing table like this one from our advertising proposal template:

Or, if pricing options really don’t fit what you’re pitching, you could consider adding a section for optional add-ons, like this website proposal template:

It’s interesting that 42.5% of proposals are won within 24 hours of being opened. This shows that a great proposal makes it easy for clients to say yes quickly. With these tips, you’ll be able to improve your batting average.

We’ve got even more great tips inspired by our research. Grab them all by downloading The State of Proposals 2022.

How to Create a Business Proposal That Closes Deals

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