10 Best Proposal Examples
Earning more business starts most often with an effective proposal. Preparing a winning proposal means writing for the client and providing a clear, valuable solution to their problem.
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Earning more business starts most often with an effective proposal. Writing a winning proposal means writing for the client and providing a clear, valuable solution to their problem. Each proposal must be planned out before a word is written. This planning assures a deep consideration of the audience, the most effective structure, and persuasive content. The proposal must be a tailored document that positions your company’s strengths with client needs. While the proposal development process can be intimidating, there are many proven examples to inspire you.
For every call for proposals by a potential client, there are good and bad submissions. To understand how to improve your bid, we have analyzed ten excellent proposal examples. In this article, we will review these examples highlighting both the best practices used and common mistakes to avoid.
These examples are prepared by proposal software companies. All are free to view without registration. These templates are useful references but must be used with caution. Structure, headings, or formatting that appear sleek in one context can be confusing or impractical for your client. Take the most valuable elements of these examples and integrate them into your customized proposal.
This proposal is effective because it provides a clear, specific solution to the client’s problems. It opens with a value-oriented executive summary. The scope of services provides brief but informative summaries of the offered services.
The very first paragraph states the specific benefits to the client. “... we are confident we can significantly increase your site traffic, customer engagement, and on-site conversions.” The timeline and the budget, persuasively phrased as ‘Your Investment’ are straightforward and easy for the client to understand and decide upon.
Critique: The case study placement is a bit distracting, as it could be included near the end with the About Us section.
The flow and content of this proposal are strong, with one significant exception: the About Us section.
Critique: While the About Us and Team sections do add value, the client is most interested in the solution. If the solution is appropriate, then the people behind it are the next consideration. The first-page executive summary should be a convincing and specific overview for the reader. This section along with proposed service details, timelines and budget are read in depth. The About Us sections are simply skimmed.
Whether using a software or your company’s template, present the client with the most important information first. Make it easy for the client to understand and see the value in your company's proposal.
This document clearly outlines the process for implementing the proposed services. The financials are broken down so the client can understand unit, hourly, and subscription costs.
Critique: The About Us and Team sections come just after the introduction. Ensure the solution sections come first.
Here, the Project Background sections clearly outline the work process for the client. Each task is clarified and seems to respond to specifications of an RFP. Using client specifications to prepare a proposal makes it easier for the reader to understand how your solution directly solves their problem. This section is strong and should come just after the executive summary.
Critique: The introductory summary should include more persuasive and specific language. As noted previously, the Introduction and Team sections should fall towards the end of the proposal. Always lead with the benefit to the client. It’s not about your business. The focus should be how your business can help the client.
The introduction or executive summary uses convincing language and bullet points to highlight the value.
Critique: It could be improved by shifting the language from general CRM best practices to how the company can specifically offer them based on this proposal. Again, the About Us section should come after the benefit-to-client details.
A sleek web-based proposal that includes specific offerings and clarification of the value.
Critique: The Introductory letter and Executive Summary have strong, persuasive elements that refer to specific client needs. These two elements could be combined to strengthen the first section. Again, the About Me should be presented after the solution.
A brief proposal that covers a range of offerings. Nice overall use of white-space to allow the reader to skim and find the important information.
Critique: The lengthy paragraphs could be shortened to increase readability and add to the white-space. Remember what we said about About Us?
A simple but effective proposal. The introduction focuses on client needs (and would be more specific in a real-world document).
Critique: Credentials, Testimonials, and Selected Works should come after the Project Summary.
A thorough, understandable proposal that breaks down the process and pricing. The content highlights the company’s knowledge of client needs and their value proposition.
Critique: The executive summary leaves much to be desired. Every sentence should be persuasive and specific, whereas this text is uninspiring and unclear.
Your proposal is your direct chance to win new business. Keep the client in mind in each step of proposal preparation. This strategy may mean revamping existing templates or starting fresh. Take the best parts of these examples, avoid the mistakes, and put your best foot forward to help the client.
About the author
Mary founded Instructional Solutions in 1998, and is an internationally recognized business writing trainer and executive writing coach with two decades of experience helping thousands of individuals and businesses master the strategic skill of business writing. She excels at designing customized business writing training programs to maximize productivity, advance business objectives, and convey complex information. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Rhode Island, an M.A. in English Literature from Boston College, and a C.A.G.S. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of New Hampshire.