5 Items that Should be in Every Proposal

by Jeremy Powers on September 9, 2010

The Cincinnati chapter of SCORE has a nice list of items you should be including in your proposals.  The article, by Bill Haman, is here.  The list is fairly inclusive of things that should be in your agreements to prevent potential problems or miscommunication, but it does not include any motivators or marketing tactics. 

In addition to the items listed by SCORE, here are a few more recommended sections to include in your offers:

  1. Need reminder –  The prospect is reviewing your service or product to fill a need.  The proposal is a perfect place to remind him of what his current need is.
  2. Value statement – You should anchor your product’s value.  You can do this by comparing it to competitive products and their costs, or by giving a statement of savings generated once your product or service is purchased.  You can and should establish a value of your product that is significantly higher than the investment required.
  3. Accountabilities– Both you and your client will need to work with each other.  Don’t try to cover everything you expect them to provide, but do make sure you cover the basic expectations.  For example, a remodeling contractor expects access to the work-site at certain times, and in return, the customer expects the remodeler to leave a clean and safe working environment when he leaves.
  4. Options – Your closing rate will improve if you include options.  The buyer’s decision should not be “should I use this company.”  They buyer’s decision should be “how should I use this company.”  Provide no less than two and no more than four options.
  5. Planned follow-up – Haman recommends limiting the time a proposal will be considered valid.  I agree.  I would expand this, however.  I recommend you clearly state in your proposal when you will be following-up for a decision.

These items are not required in a proposal, but adding these items to your proposal will increase the probability of a sale.  Your proposal can be more than a legal document that spells out what will be done and what will be paid.  Your proposal should be a continuation of your marketing process.

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