How to Write a Sales Proposal

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Writing sales proposals is often an integral part of business operations. A sales proposal may be written in response to an RFP -- or request for proposal -- in which you answer certain questions and address how you would outline a particular contract undertaking. A sales proposal also might be written as a way to follow up on a sales call or to approach a prospect about a particular purchase or contract.

Sales Proposal Essentials

Sales proposals should be written on the company's letterhead and should include an account number, contact information, the name of the individual the proposal is addressed to and the name of the sales person making the pitch. The proposal should itemize and describe elements of the sales agreement, whether it's the purchase of a product, an ongoing contractual agreement or a service. Include a timeline for how long the estimate or proposal is good or valid, such as 24 hours, 10 days or a month. Provide contact information, including a company website, phone number and email address.

Request for Proposal

In business-to-business contracting, companies often put out an RFP, inviting companies to bid on or offer a written overview of the products or service they provide for consideration. In writing this type of sales proposal, follow the specific guidelines outlined in the RFP. Include all pertinent information related to manpower, availability, services, materials and operating procedures. The receiving company should be able to read the RFP and have a good idea about how the company would undertake the project and what anticipated outcomes would be.

Response to Sales Call

Often, a sales proposal is written after an initial consultation with a customer. In this instance, the sales proposal should discuss the specific elements of the purchase previously discussed with the prospect. The proposal should include a recap of the conversation, a breakdown of the agreement and the company’s terms and conditions. For example, “As discussed in our meeting of October 1, ABC company proposes providing 12 months of maintenance and pool service for XYZ apartment complex. A full breakdown of service dates, chemical volumes and cleaning services follows.”

Closing the Sale

The sales proposal should include a contractual agreement to be presented at the end of the presentation or followed up with in person if the proposal is delivered electronically or via messenger or mail. The sales contract should include all details related to cost, timeline and delivery and be ready for the prospect to sign. Once a deal has been made, a letter of sales confirmation must be provided and the sales transaction completed.


About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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