How many proposals do you submit, on average, per month?
Five? Ten? Fifteen? …More?
And out of those, how many do you win?
Zero?… One?… Maybe two if you’re lucky?
Hearing “No” after “No” after “No” is devastating, disheartening and downright depressing.
Where are you going wrong? How can you improve? What in God’s name do you need to do to get a YES?!
If you’re looking for ways to create a blinding proposal that will flatten your competitors, dazzle your prospective buyers, and result in a long-awaited YES from a panel of reviewers, you’ve come to the right place.
All you need is ten minutes and the following 12 free proposal templates:
If you don’t have ten minutes, feel free to dive straight into these winning proposal templates:
- Bid Proposal Template Checklist
- 银元之战Business Proposal Template Checklist
- Construction Proposal Template Checklist
- Consulting Proposal Template Checklist
- Contractor Proposal Template Checklist
- Event Proposal Template Checklist
- How to Write a Grant Checklist
- Marketing Proposal Template Checklist
- Project Proposal Template Checklist
- Research Proposal Example Checklist
- 银元之战Sponsorship Proposal Template Checklist
- Website Proposal Template Checklist
Or, if you’re curious, take a sneaky peek at the website proposal template to give you a taste of what’s to come!
These are the topics we will cover in this post:
- What you need to achieve with a proposal
- 8 ways to create the perfect proposal
- The 12 different types of proposal
- The real secret behind a successful proposal
- How to use Process Street to write your winning proposals
Ok, let’s go!
Before we go into detail about how to write the ultimate knock-your-socks-off proposal, we first need to understand the mindset of the person who will be reviewing it.
“Does it go on the “keeper” pile or does it go on the “discard” pile?”
That’s the first question your prospective client is likely to ask when they receive your proposal.
Why? Because your reviewer is probably staring at a pile of submissions larger than they can reasonably handle.
As an example, in one year alone, the EPSRC (Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council) considered a whopping 2,589 research grant proposals. That’s roughly 10 proposals a day. Considering proposals can be anything from 10 to 50 pages long, it’s no wonder they are ruthless in their efforts to separate the wheat from the chaff.
So, how do you make sure your proposal lands in the keeper pile and swerves the discard pile?
Whether you’re capable is not the issue. It’s whether you outscore your competitors in your proposal.
The following eight tips will put you in the keeper pile and keep you out of the discard pile.
Before you start writing your proposal, it’s crucial that you take the time to learn about your potential client and truly understand who you’re writing the proposal for.
Reviewing their LinkedIn profile, their website, their company financial records, their work history, their competition, their latest post on Instagram (well…that might be a step too far…) will help inform what key elements to include in your proposal and will allow you to craft a proposal that’s personal, accurate, effective and more likely to be accepted.
Ok, this is where you might feel I’m being a little contradictory. Stick with me though.
Study the RFP, stick to it like glue, BUT be aware! Doing the bare minimum will not make you the customer’s best alternative.
If the customer picks you, it will not be because you were compliant with the RFP.
If the customer picks you it will be because in addition to RFP compliance you offered more.
Think about the benefits you can offer that client. And I mean think. Everyone will offer benefits. Probably the same ones. What benefits are you offering that no one else is? Solid differentiators will help you stand out from the crowd.
To briefly reiterate my earlier point, imagine having to review 10 proposals, each 30+ pages long, by the end of the day. If 15 of those pages are filled with fluff and waffle, you’re going to lose interest. Quickly.
银元之战Get straight to the point. Don’t deviate. Don’t take the scenic route and don’t beat around the bush.银元之战
I love this quote by 银元之战RMR Consulting, it sums it up perfectly:
“Think of your proposal as the first step to solving your client’s problems. Time is a resource, and if you’re wasting theirs with your portfolio novel, you’ve just created a new problem for them”
This final tip is the most important one.
We’ve 银元之战ALL银元之战 done it. Desing. Biuld. Thnaks. We’ve all sent an email, message or document with spelling errors that we are completely blind to.
Those tiny spelling mistakes, missing full stops, rogue capital letters, and misplaced commas that we’re completely oblivious to, will be glaringly obvious to your prospective client. Trust me.
Read it. Read it again. Read it a final time. And then read it again.
“A great proposal can make a world of difference in closing a wobbly deal, while a poorly written proposal will lose even a rock-solid client” – Smart Insights, 8 Essential Components of a Marketing Business Proposal
So, now we’ve covered the ways to create a perfect proposal, let’s move on to talk about the different types of proposals you can create.
A business proposal is basically a sales pitch on paper. It outlines your value proposition, and its primary purpose is to persuade a company or an organization to do business with you.
Business proposals tend to fall into one of two categories:
- Solicited. Solicited proposals are requested by a prospective client, usually via an RFP.
- Unsolicited. Unsolicited proposals are proposals that are sent out to prospective clients in the hope that you will win new business.
Regardless of whether it’s a solicited or unsolicited proposal, it should describe what you can do to solve the problem, how you plan to solve the problem and the finer details about when, why and how much it will cost to solve the problem. It should also contain a key call to action that will compel the recipient to take the next step.
A project proposal outlines your project’s core value proposition. It’s the initial framework for establishing the concept of the project and includes what you want to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish it.
The two main objectives of a project proposal are:
- To get stakeholder’s approval for a new project, program, or service
- To get everyone on the team thinking about the same goals and priorities. It sets the roadmap for the project so that everyone is working towards the same goals.
Getting inside the heads of the people you are writing the proposal for is vital: you need to think like the project’s stakeholders to deliver a proposal that meets their needs.
“A lousy marketing proposal is worse than no proposal at all” – PandaDoc, How to Write a Marketing Proposal and Win New Business
A marketing proposal, in simple terms, is a tool used by marketers to sell an idea or project to a client. But, as the world of marketing is cut-throat and competitive, landing the best clients, the biggest names, and the best pay often means writing the best marketing proposals.
The proposal needs to include detailed strategy ideas, delivery time frames, and estimated costs. But more importantly, it needs to WOW the client.
Capture and hold their interest by only including information that’s relevant. Acknowledge the client’s needs and make sure everything you write answers the fundamental question, which is on every client’s mind, “What’s in it for me?’
An event proposal is a document that outlines the services you will provide for an event. It’s your chance to show off what you can do and what you have previously done.
As most people prefer to engage with visuals than to read text, especially with event proposals, you need to paint a show-stopping picture of what you can offer, what you can do, and what you have previously done. Include photos, 3D mock-ups or videos of your facility, guestrooms, menu options, and past events that showcase your space as well as what you can do with it.
The more detailed your event proposal is, the better the potential client will understand your capabilities and the unique guest experience you’re able to offer.
A sponsorship is a commercial relationship that benefits all parties of the equation.
A sponsorship proposal is, in effect, a pitch. It’s a document that’s used to persuade the sponsor that it would be beneficial to invest in a partnership/project.
For example, if a local football club needed financial support, they might send a sponsorship proposal to a local company. Within this proposal they might agree to wear heavily branded shirts, to raise the profile of the company, in exchange for financial investment. This creates a win-win situation for both parties.
Because a sponsorship proposal needs to convince a potential investor that it’s in their best interest to invest, they need to be persuasive, effective and targeted to win the sponsorship money.
“A bid is not an info packet. It’s a persuasion tool” – Emphasis, Five Things to Remember when Writing your First Bid
Often used in government or large corporate projects, the goal of a bid proposal is to persuade someone to choose your company to complete a project or piece of work. It’s a specific summary of why you are qualified to undertake the job. With strict rules and regulations to adhere to, the bidding process is highly competitive, and companies will compete to win a bid by submitting bid proposals that focus on costs.
Having said that, writing an effective bid proposal should still be seen as an exercise in persuasive writing. You need to convince the recipient that, alongside the fantastic value for money and low costs you can offer, you tick every one of their boxes and are, by far, the best choice in all areas.
Process Street is 银元之战super-powered checklists银元之战. It’s state of the art 银元之战Business Process Management (BPM) software that makes it easy to manage all your recurring tasks, processes, and workflows.
With Process Street, you can also connect to thousands of apps through Zapier, webhooks and API access to automate your workflows.
Want to see it for yourself? Watch this video:
Not only that, but we also have the following additional features that will create efficiencies, automate workflows and make processes within your business run smoothly:
- Stop tasks
- Dynamic due dates
- Task permissions
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- Approval tasks
- Embed widget
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Talking of automated workflows, this webinar, hosted by our very own Blake Bailey, covers everything you need to know about automating your workflows. Give it a watch, it’s worth it!
Ok, so now you know who we are and what we do, let’s bring it back to how Process Street can help you write and submit winning proposals, whilst saving you time and effort.
As we’ve agreed, writing proposals is complicated, time-consuming, and stressful, to say the least.
You have a tonne of information to gather and a million points to remember to include. You’ve got to keep it concise, keep it direct, make sure it’s error-free, meet the deadline, make it different, compete with thousands, and, on top of all that, make sure you meet every single one of the endless RFP requirements.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a pre-designed template to follow that made sure you included all the required information, met the specified deadlines, incorporated your USP’s, spotted the silly mistakes, and addressed every single RFP requirement?
Well, your prayers have been answered.
A bid proposal is a specific summary of why you are qualified to undertake the job. Use this checklist, alongside the bid proposal you are planning to submit, to convince the recipient that you are the best choice.
A construction proposal provides specific details about what you are promising to deliver for a construction project. Use this checklist to ensure your proposal includes enough detail about the work you will carry out, the materials you will use, your expected payment schedules, and estimated costs.
Use this checklist, alongside the proposal document you plan to submit, to introduce yourself, highlight your services, describe the costs, and convince the client that you are the right one for the job.
This checklist should be used alongside the proposal document you are planning to submit to make sure that all elements have been considered, that the proposal contains everything it needs to and that it meets all stated requirements.
This checklist will help you to establish what you want to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish it so that your prospective clients have a clear understanding of what’s involved and why they should choose you.
A sponsorship proposal needs to convince a potential investor that it’s in their best interest to invest. Use this checklist to make sure your proposal is persuasive, effective and targeted enough to win the sponsorship money.
If you like what you see, take a look at these alternative proposal templates:
- Construction Proposal Template
- Construction Progress Report
- Continuation Project Proposal Template
- Renewal Project Proposal Template
- Supplemental Project Proposal Template
- Writing a Proposal: Step-by-Step Guide
- Social Media Engagement Campaign Proposal
- Budget Preparation Checklist
- Budget Template
- Budget Process
- Startup Due Diligence For A Venture Capitalist
- Environmental Accounting Internal Audit
- Cash Management Process
- Financial Plan Template
- Cash Flow Report
- Expense Management Process
- Cash Management Process
- How to Write a Proposal and Get What You Want
- 银元之战6 Types of Project Proposals That Get Approved (and How to Write Them)
- Project Proposal Template
- Five things to remember when writing your first bid
- Freelance Writing – Effective Tips For Writing a Bid Proposal
- Project Proposal Writing
- Proposal writing: Stages and Strategies with Examples
- Proposal Writing: The Six-Step Process
- Planning and Writing a Grant Proposal: The Basics
- How to Write a Grant Proposal
- How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal
- Grant Proposals (or give me the money!)
- Government Grants Statistics
- 4 Types of Grant Funding
- Top 3 Things to Know Before Applying for a Grant
- Grantseeking Basics
- Government Grants and Loans
- A Short Summary of Federal Grants
- What Is a Grant?
- Things to do Before Writing a Grant Proposal
- Understanding Government Grants
- 银元之战11 Things to Consider Before Applying for Government Funding
- 10 Checklist Tips for an Optimal Web Design Proposal Template
- 5-Step Guide to Get Your App Funded in 2019
Right, I think my ten minutes are up! Before I go though, let me leave you with this quote from the team at Smart Insights:
“Writing proposals manually simply makes no sense. Instead, create a proposal template to make the job more efficient”
Silly mistakes can be the cost of a proposal. Sign up to Process Street for free.
We’d love to hear about your experience with creating proposals in the comments. Who knows? You may even get featured in an upcoming article!”