What is the Purpose of a Business Proposal?
The purpose of a business proposal is to move a client through the sales process by serving as a precursor to a signed contract. During a discovery call, you and the client might have discussed several options for working together — the business proposal clarifies exactly what work you will complete when it is due and what exactly is included in the work,
For example, a freelance writer's proposal might include the number of articles per month, the word count per article, how many rounds of edits are included, and whether items like a meta description, images, and calls to action are included.
Why is a Freelance Proposal so Important?
Proposals are a crucial step in convincing a client to sign your contract. If your proposal is spot on, your client might be ready to sign right away. On the other hand, if your proposal looks unprofessional, has typos, or leaves out crucial information, the client might decide to go with another provider.
Essentially, your freelance proposal serves as the final step in the pitching process. This is your last chance to close the deal, so make sure you come in strong!
What is a Proposal Template?
A business proposal template outlines all the required information for each client. For example, you might include a section for client name, contact information, date of the proposal, work to be completed, the benefits the client can expect, and other pertinent information.
By creating or using a proposal template, you can simply add the relevant information for each new client and click send!
Benefits of a Great Proposal
Now that you know what a proposal is and why it matters let's talk about the benefits. Do you really need a proposal? Proposals aren't required to sign clients; however, a great proposal lays the groundwork for a successful business relationship.
Here are a few other benefits of creating a great business proposal.
Clarify Your Agreement
An excellent freelance proposal should outline exactly what work will be completed and what the results will be. In some cases, you might outline several options. For example, a writer might outline the costs and timeline for writing two blogs a month versus five. A designer might outline designing one infographic and three blog images a month versus an ebook design and two blog images.
Clarifying your agreement helps get everyone on the same page so you can move forward with a contract.
Proposals aren't just pre-contracts; they also serve to drive home the main benefits of the work to be completed. Will your writing help drive traffic? Will your SEO audit help a new business increase organic traffic and drive leads? Focusing on the benefits gives the client the information they need to make an informed decision.
Set the Tone for The Working Relationship
A strong freelancer proposal is an opportunity to win over a new client — but it also helps set the tone for the rest of your working relationship. Creating a clear, professional proposal shows prospective clients you are an expert in your field. Addressing the challenges that might arise shows you are prepared and confident in your abilities.
Address Risks and Objections
Every project comes with risks — and clients are keenly aware of how risks could disrupt their business or even impact their customers. By addressing risks and overcoming objections, your proposal can help the client feel confident in moving forward. Remember, a proposal isn't just an outline of steps in your process; it should also convince prospects you are the right person for the job.
Create a Road Map for the Project
Project roadmaps ensure both the vendor (you) and the client fully understand what work will be completed, what is included in each stage of the project, and what information you need to complete the work.
While this doesn't need to be exhaustive, make sure to cover your bases. For example, do you need certain information from the client before you can begin to work? Are there any roadblocks that might slow you down? For example, if the client takes longer than anticipated to approve the first draft of your work, what happens? Outlining expectations now can save everyone time and energy down the road.
What are Different Types of Proposal Templates for Freelancers?
Proposals are created for various reasons — to secure funding, convince a higher-up to take action or convince prospective clients to sign on the dotted line. The type of proposal template you need will depend on the goal of your proposal.
Here are a few of the most common types of freelancer proposal templates.
Unsolicited Proposal Template
An unsolicited proposal is sent to a cold lead or a prospect you haven't had any interaction with. Because you don't already have a relationship, make sure to spend more time focusing on the business's challenges and the possible results you can bring.
Unsolicited proposals are often shorter and less specific than other business proposals.
Project Proposal Template
A project proposal outlines the steps in a specific project, including the work to be completed, a timeline, and possible results. In general, these are sent at the request of a prospective client. Project proposals should clearly outline the benchmarks and provide specific information the client needs to make an informed decision.
Retainer Proposal Template
A retainer proposal outlines a retainer agreement when a client pays a set amount per month to essentially reserve your time. The retainer proposal outlines how much time they are reserving, the rate, and what benefits they can expect to see. You might also outline how much additional work will cost if they exceed the retainer amount.
Supplemental Proposal Template
A supplemental proposal is essentially an add-on to a current contract. For example, suppose the original contract included five blog post images a month. This month, they also need an infographic. You might send a supplemental proposal for the infographic outlining the cost and what is included. Supplemental proposals focus less on the sales aspect because the client already sees the value you bring to their business.
5 Elements of a Winning Proposal Template
Now that you understand what freelance proposals are, why they matter, and the different types, you are ready to sit down and write your proposal. What should you include? Here are five elements that every winning proposal needs.
Problem > Solution > Impact > Resources > Summary
1. Outline The Problem Your Proposal Solves
Remember, a proposal is all about making a sale. So, the first section should address the challenges a client's faces and explain why it matters. For example, a web designer might mention Google's core algorithm update and offer stats about how site speed can impact bounce rate. A copywriter might talk about how longer copy increases conversion rates. Where possible, offer stats and studies to back you up.
2. Clearly Define The Steps You Will Take
Now that the client understands why they have an issue, it's time for you to save the day! How can you help solve this problem? What steps will you take, and what will you need from them to make it happen?
Be sure to break the project down into easy to understand steps, including research, data crunching, coding, or anything else you do — this helps highlight your value and expertise.
3. Predict The Impact Of The Project
What is the goal of your project, and what results can the client expect? For example, will your work increase traffic to their site, help grow their email list, drive sales? How will you track the ROI of your project? Don't promise them results you can't attain — the goal is to inspire confidence, not sell them the moon.
4. Outline The Time And Resources Required
What do you need to make the project a reality? Do you need access to specific systems, like their website analytics software? Do you need access to the sales team to understand how they use the CRM? How long will the project take?
Make sure to outline milestones in the project as well. This will ensure you are all on the same page and can reduce confusion down the road.
The summary should wrap up your proposal, reinforce your previous points, and reiterate how you can help solve their challenges. Focus on exactly why they should care about your proposal and how it will benefit their business. Then, let them know the next step in the process — for example, signing a contract or scheduling a meeting.
Generate a Professional Freelance Proposal Today
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