Proposals are how you show the client what your business has to offer, and how you convince them that you're the one for the job.
Writing a proposal can seem daunting at first, but it doesn't have to be. There are a number of sections that appear in almost every proposal, and a few important best practices that you should always keep in mind.
If you've read How to Write a Proposal, it makes sense you might want to lean on examples to get you through writing your own.
Here, you'll find helpful, relatable examples to aid in writing each of the most common sections of a typical proposal, best practices to keep in mind, and practical advice to make writing successful proposals a breeze.
Proposal Sections to Include
In 2022, every proposal will be different, and will depend on company, industry, deal size, and product or service. However, most proposals follow a similar structure.
Here are examples for seven popular sections to help you write (and win) your next contract.
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Proposal Writing Examples
Proposal Cover Page Example
Your cover page is your proposal’s first impression, so you want to make sure it looks great and contains the key information. It doesn’t need to be flashy, but it must be well-designed and include important details like the client name, your name and contact info, and the date submitted.
Proposal Executive Summary Example
An executive summary is a short one-page statement of the problem, the purpose of the communication, and a brief overview of the solutions you’re proposing.
You also need to know how it fits into your business proposal. It comes first, right after the cover page.
Some people call it an “executive summary for decision makers” or an elevator pitch. In all cases, it’s meant to be read by senior executives who have limited time, so know your audience and write for them.
Proposal Solutions Example
The solutions section is where you can highlight your company's products and services, and explain how they'll solve the problem you've outlined in the previous section. As with any other proposal section, it should be clear and concise, use a professional tone, and speak directly to your prospect's needs (not your company's).
The solutions page should also be built around the unique ways that your product or service will solve your prospect's problem. If you're working on a proposal for a client, you may want to include extra details that speak directly to their specific situation.
Proposal About Us/Our Team Examples
A proposal's About page is an important touch point in the process, because it allows you to show off your professionalism and personality. This is where you’ll also want to include a breakdown of your team members and their credentials, as well as the company’s background, values, vision and mission statement.
Aesthetic appeal: The About page is a great place to humanize your brand. Introduce key members of your leadership team, company founders, and team members who will be working with your new clients on their project.
Proposal Deliverables Example
The deliverables page is where you list the products and services that your company will provide to its new client. It’s also where you tell them the cost of these things and how long it will take to implement them.
Remember that the key to winning new business is making sure that your clients understand what exactly you’re offering them, and how much it will cost. Your deliverables page should be clear and consistent with what you promised in your executive summary.
Proposal Pricing Example
When describing what you’ll deliver and when, be specific about the details but don’t go overboard with the technical jargon. Remember: Your goal is to communicate your value in the most effective way possible—not to impress them with your industry knowledge.
If you’re working on a fixed-fee project, describe exactly what work will be done during each phase of production (i.e., deliverable) and how much that phase will cost.
If you’re working on a subscription basis, list out exactly what clients will pay each month and what services they’ll receive for that price.
Proposal Terms & Conditions Example
Keep it simple and include only what is necessary for legal purposes. We recommend including the following in your Terms and Conditions:
Include payment method, due dates and late fees
Include time for completion and revisions
Who owns the files, images or content you've created for their project *if applicable
Outline when a client can cancel the project and any costs associated with cancellation
For example, confidentiality clauses or links to other documents like privacy policies
Proposal Writing Best Practices
Beyond following the examples above, here are some best practices to adhere to when writing your proposals.
Use a Template
Proposal templates help you create consistent, predictable sales documents, minimizing costly errors. They also ensure quick turnaround times when the deadline is tight.
A good template includes portions of your business' policies and pricing, terms and conditions, team about section, and anything that will likely remain static regardless of who you're proposing what to. By starting with a template, you can simply fill in the remaining blanks to make the document unique to the client and their business.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Short proposals perform better than long ones. Keep your proposals short, clear, and organized into sections so that busy decision makers will have an easy time reading them.
Do this by mapping the prospect's biggest challenges to the solutions you are offering and convincing them why they should choose you over the competition.
Involve the Client
Prospective clients are more likely to provide vital deal details if you ask them for them before you commit to taking their project on. When your prospective client provides vital deal details, they are more likely to keep the commitments they have made.
In fact, Proposify's annual State of Proposals report found that proposals with client forms have a 119.4% higher close rate and a 26% faster time to close than proposals with no client forms.
In many situations, a contract requires more than just a signature.
Whether it's order confirmation, billing details, key milestones or detailed company information, there's a lot that a client can provide before getting to the bottom line of a proposal. The data shows that the more involved they are in getting to that number, the more likely it is they'll sign.
Rely on Automatic Reminders
Set up reminder emails to ensure that prospects are not distracted or forgetful. These emails can also be helpful in reminding buyers that you are still waiting on an answer.
Automating the follow-up process is a great way to make sure your prospect gets a nudge when they need it. The data suggests that proposals with scheduled reminders have a 35% higher close rate than proposals with no reminders.
To make the most of your follow-ups, send two or three emails before giving up. This is especially important if you're talking to a decision-maker who has to get buy-in from other stakeholders. They might need time to sell the other people in their team on your solution.
Use These Proposal Writing Examples Wisely
Your proposal is key to your success in proposing—and winning.
Take advantage of the writing examples on this list for a head start on writing your own successful proposals. You will increase your chances of bringing in much-needed business, both now and in the future.