Proposal letters can serve as important tools for gaining new clients, starting new projects and growing a business. The way that proposal letters are constructed has an impact on their overall effectiveness. From the layout and design to the language used in the document, business leaders must consider all aspects of a proposal before sending it to its intended recipient. The last few sentences of a proposal letter are particularly important, as those are the last words the recipient will read before potentially making a decision.
Writing an Effective Proposal
To write an effective proposal letter, it's helpful to begin by gathering all the relevant information you plan to include in the document. This can include statistics, budget figures, dates, definitions and your company's credentials. You may also wish to start with an outline, which is a writing tool that can help you plan out the different categories of your proposal.
The introduction of your proposal will likely include some basic information about your company and why it's qualified to perform the particular task in question. The introduction may also include a broad overview of the proposal topic so that the recipients understand what they are about to read. Some proposals may also start with an executive summary, which is a short overview that summarizes the key points of the proposal. The executive summary is useful for recipients who are short on time but want to get a sense of what the proposal is all about.
The main sections of your proposal will vary depending on the project but may include sections that discuss the project's budget or prices, the proposed timeline for the project and the risks associated with the project. You may also discuss the materials required to complete the project, the labor or types of workers needed to complete the project and the projected revenue or leads generated by the project.
It's important to consider your audience while writing a proposal. The language you use will vary depending on the expertise of the audience, as well as how familiar they are with the technical aspects of the project. When considering your audience, it's also helpful to address the specific needs or concerns of each recipient, rather than mass-producing one proposal to send to many recipients.
Before sending the proposal to a reader, it's important to carefully edit the document and remove any spelling mistakes, grammar errors and factual inaccuracies. Typos and other mistakes can be perceived as unprofessional and may result in the proposal being rejected.
Closing a Proposal Letter
The conclusion of a proposal is an important element of the overall document. When the recipient finishes reading the proposal, the last few sentences or paragraphs may stick in their mind. An effective conclusion can help seal the deal and lead the reader to do business with your company. While other parts of the proposal are also important for getting approval to move ahead, it may make sense to spend extra time on the last few sentences to ensure the proposal is persuasive.
In the conclusion, consider recapping the top-level points of the proposal to reiterate the main ideas, taking care not to repeat verbatim what you already wrote. This final summary should provide an analysis or explanation that connects all the main points. You may also want to encourage the recipient to continue the conversation by offering to answer any lingering questions or to discuss the idea in greater depth at a later date. For example, you may write: "Please let me know if you have additional questions – I would be happy to answer them." Some effective proposal letters also end with a call to action, which can create a sense of urgency and a reason for the recipient to move forward with the proposal. An example of a call to action is: "Get started on this project today by contacting our team."
- Coursera: University of Maryland College Park Master Class for Corporate Entrepreneurs
- University of Washington: How to Make an Outline
- University of Maryland University College: Executive Summaries
- Forbes: How to Write a Plan or Proposal That Rocks
- Inc: How to Write a Winning Proposal
- Inc: 5 Closing Statements to Make in a Sales Email
- HubSpot: 18 Closing Phrases to Seal A Sales Deal in 2018
- Webster University: Strategies for Writing Effective Conclusions