There are different kinds of proposal letters businesses use to intrigue prospects and close sales. Some proposal letters act as an introductory letter to a full proposal. In this kind of letter, businesses identify the main problems their clients are having and speak about the benefits of their solution. The purpose is to capture the attention of the prospects enough so that they will be interested in reading the full proposal.
Another kind of proposal letter acts as the proposal itself. It contains the problems and benefits, in addition to the solution and the next steps. In either case, the introduction of your proposal letter needs to provide the reader with enough interesting information that they will want to read on.
Start by Laying the Groundwork
The introduction for your proposal letter should start off by giving the reader some context. If you’re responding to an earlier conversation with the prospect, for example, say so in your letter: “Thank you so much for the engaging call yesterday. As promised, I’ve enclosed our proposal outlining the ways in which we can help your organization to achieve your goals.”
On the other hand, if your proposal letter is going to a cold prospect, one with which you haven’t had previous contact, you’ll need to engage them with an attention-grabbing question in your introductory paragraph. Try to figure out what your prospect’s main goals may be that you can help them with, and speak directly to that. If your organization sells software that helps businesses to improve their operations, you can ask your prospects, “Have you ever wondered what your day would look like if you were able to complete all your tasks in half the amount of time it usually takes?”
Identify the Problem in the Proposal Introduction Paragraph
Your introduction to your proposal letter needs to immediately show your prospects that you understand the challenges they are facing. This not only exemplifies your expertise in the industry, but it also shows empathy and compassion, which helps prospects to relate to your business.
Conduct market research to find out the biggest challenges your target audience is facing which you can help them with. Try to be as specific as possible in your proposal. This will help your prospects to self-identify as your potential customer. You can phrase the problem as a question, as in, “Are you looking for the best fitness program for new moms?” You can also relate the problem to other people. For example, “Many new moms are looking to find a fitness program that helps them feel strong and confident.”
Speak About the Benefits of the Solution
Next, your proposal intro should briefly discuss the benefits of your solution. You can go on to expand on what your business offers in the rest of your proposal letter. However, your introductory paragraph should just offer a brief glimpse into what the benefits are. While there may be several benefits of your product or service, try to narrow three things that make your product or service unique. What sets you apart from the competition?
Include your unique value proposition in your proposal introduction after you have shown the reader that you understand the problems they are facing. Try to simplify the benefits so they are easy to understand at a glance. If your business offers health and safety training for employees of other businesses, for example, your key benefits may be: “We enable your business to lower accidents, reduce injury legal disputes and improve operational efficiency with our unique health and safety training programs.”
Ask Questions That You Will Answer in the Proposal
Lastly, your proposal introduction should pose questions that your reader may be wondering, so that you can fully answer them in the rest of your letter and the proposal. Hint at the cost or time benefits or discuss the unique delivery methods, for example. You can also introduce your expert credentials and experience, which you can discuss more in-depth in the proposal. The idea is to let your reader know that you are aware of what information they want to see, and that you will cover it in your proposal.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.