A strong and persuasive proposal is one of the first and most important factors in converting your prospects into potential clients.
Whether you are a freelancer or own a small or medium-sized business, proposals are a ticket to getting a regular flow of clients and helping you thrive in a stable business.
However, preparing your first proposal may seem daunting at the beginning. It may not be the most enthusiastic part of your business. It may remind you of your high-school assignment that wasn’t your favorite part of your studies, but you still had to do it!
Trust me; it’s for the good of your business, like assignments were good for your studies. Both are required to help you in the long run.
Besides, modern advancements have made things simpler for preparing your proposal as well.
You could access templates that you find suitable based on your business and customize it to prepare your proposal. And this is exactly what I’ll be discussing in this article.
So, bear with me till the end to simplify the whole process of preparing a proposal!
But before that, let’s talk about what’s a proposal and why it is important.
What’s a Project Proposal?
A written offer elucidating products and/or services persuasively and specifically tailored to a prospect can be referred to as a proposal.
It’s a structured document offering a solution to a particular problem your prospect may have been facing. The definitive sales document with a condensed form of the entire value your proposed solution provides to the prospect’s problem.
An outstanding proposal has the power to change the game when bidding for a project, showing a brand, sharing your experience, case study, and so on.
Types of proposals
It can be in the form of a concept paper, white paper, or a letter proposal with a short explanation of your proposition. Its purpose is to inform as well as spark interest in a prospect about your product/services.
If a client/prospect accepts your pre-proposal, they can request a full proposal formally, and you can take this forward.
It is prepared in response to a formal request by a prospect. It must also be a detailed description and properly structured to communicate the specific solutions to their pain points.
Formally solicited proposals are made in the form of:
Request for proposal (RFP)
Request for quotation (RFQ)
Invitation for Bid (IFB)
Request for Information (RFI)
They are similar to formally soliciting proposals but are different because the information provided here is not detailed with no set goals, methods, or deliverables.
This type of proposal is made based on the conversation between the product/service provider and the prospect. Here, you are just asked to prepare the proposal without any specifics given.
It’s like cold calls where the prospect never asked you to provide the proposal, but you are still sending it to convert them into your potential customers.
It depends upon how much you have done your research about your prospect’s business, their problems, and how you can solve them. If everything is done correctly, you may be able to convert them.
However, it also depends upon their perspective of your proposal or status, whether they want it at the moment or not.
Why are proposals important for your business?
Clarity of vision
Proposals contain a purpose statement and a mission statement. While the purpose statement describes the reason why you have prepared the proposal, the mission statement defines the goals of your business.
When your prospect sees the detailed explanation of these two aspects, they can understand you have done enough research about them, have a valuable solution, and are the perfect fit for their requirements.
Proof of your work
In your proposal, you also explain your successful business ventures and how you have helped your previous clients.
It establishes credibility and proof of work, so your prospect gets one more reason to work with you, knowing that you can help them.
Realistic plans & projections
While preparing your proposal, you research all the possible challenges and means to overcome them. You get a real-time idea of what methods would be the best and most efficient to solve those challenges while striking out tough roads.
Hence, whatever plans and solutions you make will be realistic, not just words trying to convince others. Besides, you can also make predictions about the timeline within which you can complete your project.
It works both ways; your clients would know when the solution will arrive at their hands, and you can schedule your future tasks accordingly after completing theirs.
Proposals also cover project risks such as compliance, copyright infringement, competitors, and unexpected delays affecting delivery time.
Through your proposal, you can address how you can minimize such risks. In this way, your prospect will be assured of the timely delivery of services without any discrepancies.
So, if you are convinced that a proposal is something you are missing out in your business, now’s the time to act on it.
Now, the next thing is to write a good proposal and design it to compel your prospect into thinking you are serious about your business and paying attention to every fine detail. It gives a positive impression and increases your chances of conversion.
That said, here are a few things that you must include in your proposal:
Index or table of contents
Proposed solution and method
About your business and projects you have worked on
Terms & conditions
You can employ an in-house writer to write the proposal for your company, or you can hire a freelancer for that matter.
Apart from writing, the strength of your proposal also lies in its looks and presentation. For this, you can get some professional proposal templates from the below-mentioned websites and customize them the way you want.
By doing this, you can save time, maintain a consistent brand identity, and minimize stress levels as you don’t have to prepare it time and again.
Finally, let’s check out those resources to get outstanding proposal templates and win clients.
It’s hard to imagine (digital) life without Canva.
(Well, at least for me!)
From social media, personal cards, and resumes to marketing and business, Canva has templates for everything.
Its 68+ proposal templates save you time and effort, as you don’t need to create it from scratch. You can create various proposals such as marketing proposals, design proposals, project proposals, art exhibition proposals, company rebrand proposals, and more.
Just customize these templates with Canva’s wonderful drag-and-drop editor, choose from an extensive range of design elements, and experiment to suit the project and your brand.
Close deals quicker and win more clients by presenting them to help them choose you over others. It’s easy to create stunning proposals from PandaDoc.
You can choose from 100+ templates and design the look and feel of our proposals that clients have a hard time ignoring. The types of proposals you can avail of here include freelance proposals, business proposals, marketing, HR, product/services, eCommerce, sponsorship, design and development, sales, etc.
To empower your sales team to generate and sending quality proposals quickly and easily, PandaDoc provides free templates that you can customize and collaborate on. All you have to do is download a template in the form of a PDF and sign up for your PandaDoc account. You can import the template and place it in the editor.
When done customizing, save your document and use it as you like.
Prepare winning proposals with the PDF templates of JotForm in minutes. Whether you want to design a project proposal, business proposal, or bid proposal, they provide templates for different needs.
Their free templates help you create attention-grabbing proposals containing crucial information about strategy, objectives, and budget. After you customize them, you can convert them in PDFs for easy presentation, pitching, and printing.
JotForm lets you personalize the templates through its comprehensive PDF Editor to change colors and fonts, add a logo, and more form fields. It offers 23 free templates that you can use the way you want.
Get a wide-ranging gallery of beautifully designed and professionally written proposal templates from Proposify. All their templates are fully customizable, making it easier for you to represent your brand identity and expedite your deal.
Whatever your need, just come to Proposify to avail proposals of almost all types. They offer proposal templates for:
Accounting, Financial, legal services, and investment
Advertising and marketing
Architecture and interior design
Branding and business consulting.
Catering, cleaning services, and pressure washing
Commercial lease, construction, plumbing, and roofing
Content marketing, Digital marketing, SEO, Adwords, and PPC
Proposify lets you manage proposals easily in a single library, and you can tag, search, and drop those files into a layout. It enables online signatures and previews to save your client from printing or going through extra logins and software.
You can track everything related to your sent proposals, such as close rates, top-viewed sections, viewing time, etc. You can sync your proposals from other apps like CRM.
Is a prospect you recently contacted asking for a formal proposal? Are you confused about where to get started with preparing the proposal?
Whether you are making it for your organization, your sponsors, or your prospects, Marq’s right design of proposal templates could make a real difference.
They let you customize all of them so you can create a unique one and fine-tune it for your targeted project. They also offer drag & drop tools and let you flex your designing skills in no time.
Eliminate risks associated with accidentally moving, stretching, or discoloring your brand logo or other assets. You can restrict it by locking the fonts, logos, images, positions, etc. Marq offers 50+ templates for different purposes, including project proposals, graphic design, marketing, branding, sales, web design, video proposal, etc.
Proposals make that first impression you want to cast about your brand on your prospects’ minds. Thanks to the visually striking templates offered by Visme that things get way simpler than you thought.
Browse these templates and edit them to add more value by choosing from their extensive library with stunning stock images to seal the deal.
In addition to editing the templates simply, Visme also offers privacy control over your designs. Use it whenever you want, as it is available in the cloud, add media, and publish and share them with anyone.
Start creating astonishing proposals with Proposable, and let your conversion rates soar high in the sky!
Whether you want to propose your business, projects, web design, social media, digital marketing, travel, graphic design, or construction, Proposable has covered you. It’s because it offers templates in 44 different verticals. All the templates are intuitively designed with high-quality images and design elements that can grab eyeballs in no time.
You also have the freedom to add rich media and videos into the proposals directly for an immersive presentation. In the proposal, you also enter your pricing. For this, Proposable offers optional line items, taxes, discounts, optional qualities, and more so you can represent the pricing for your products/services quickly in a readable and polished format.
Collaborate with your teammates easily on your proposals by mentioning their names and re-assigning ownership to other members, if needed. Close deals faster with e-signature integrated within your proposal template. Guide your clients through a quick acceptance workflow when you need them to take action on your proposal.
View detailed analytics associated with your sent proposals and determine the interaction they received by your clients or prospects. You can also enable email notifications or real-time text to be aware of key events like proposal views.
Proposable simplifies collecting initial payments by allowing you to set the required amount where your prospect would be prompted to make the payment immediately after accepting your proposal.
When you are looking for an effective proposal template online, Venngage is a good option. It can help you craft an excellent proposal for your business partnerships, project funding, acquiring new clients, etc.
With Venngage, you don’t need to compromise on quality, even under tight budgets or time constraints. It has a huge library containing 100% customizable templates that you can access anywhere. The freeform canvas of Venngage makes it simple to move the headers, images, texts, and other elements so you can render a perfect layout.
Include charts, screenshots, photos, icons, and select from their library of visual elements. You can also upload images of your own and add your logo for effortless branding. Venngage lets you download proposals in high-quality PNG or PDF format. You can optimize it for print or digital distribution as well.
Send professional-looking proposals by customizing the high-quality templates of Bidsketch. It allows you to use your custom CSS/HTML designs or their built-in templates.
Each template they provide consists of exquisite colors, and you can export the customized templates to PDF for sending. Save hours of your time by reusing the designs, content, and price estimations. Bidsketch gives you the option to embed videos and images so your clients can view them online.
Up-selling additional items or services is a clever marketing strategy, and Bidsketch helps you do this by allowing you to mark a fee as an option. So, your clients get to choose whether they want to accept it or not while viewing your proposal. It also lets you put special messages that pop up when your prospect approves your proposal.
In addition, they get an option to comment or take its PDF, digital signature, prompt for deposits, and other guidance. With Bidsketch, you can use your company domain, for instance, proposals.companyname.com. In this way, your prospects can see your company URL every time, which establishes your brand consistency.
Get notified when your prospect views your proposal and comments on it, plus you can also check its approval status. Bidsketch is fully compliant with international and US e-signature laws. They also archive and protect your signed proposals so no one tampers with them. It is compatible with tools and applications like Zapier, Salesforce, Docsketch, Harvest, etc.
Design your desired proposals with Adobe Express in minutes. It is a powerful design platform where you can fully control your designs and leverage its FREE templates to make edits.
Not only can this tool deliver professional results, but it is also straightforward to use. The entire process here is click-based, which does not need you to be skilled at programming or graphic design. Play around with Adobe Express, and you can master the tool and its design basics easily.
Every change you make while editing your proposal could be automatically updated, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost. It offers around 50 proposal templates that are of high quality and cover different categories like design, business, marketing, catering, interior design, research, advertising strategy, landscape, and many more.
Get conversion-focused proposal templates from Better Proposals that speak on behalf of your brand. They have designed their editor to be super easy, which makes creating a proposal a quick and hassle-free task.
You get 100+ customizable templates in their library covering various industries. Just browse through the categories to choose what you are looking for. All their templates are made with industry-level best practices for better results.
Whatever designs you have crafted, you can save them in their vast library and use them whenever you want with a single click. Besides you can also view the performance of your proposals. Pay attention to the branding aspects by including your logo, brand font, and colors.
Give your proposals custom domains so they look like a part of your website and add images and content that you wish. Follow up with your prospects at the right time with industry-leading analytics and instant notifications. You can also receive notifications through email when your prospect opens, signs, prints, or forwards your proposal.
Price your products/services intelligently by using tables and choose different billing features as per your requirements, such as:
Recurring fees for an installment item or subscription once every month, quarter, or year
Quantities for multiple items you are charging at once, like for coaching sessions
Bolt-on for up-selling, i.e., by adding optional items for prospects
Include e-signature that are legally binding across the globe. Integrate payment providers such as PayPal, GoCardless, and Stripe. You can also integrate your favorite app for a live chat, like PureChat, Tawk, Drift, or Crisp, to answer your client’s questions and concerns.
It is currently available in over 22 languages and supports multi-currency and international taxes.
Practice Ignition has everything you require to create awesome proposals and streamline them to send your prospects faster and bag the deal. It lets you automatically generate a fully compliant engagement letter and contracts accompanying your proposals.
You can monitor your outstanding proposals so your team can follow up, receive new notifications in real time, and take action when you still have time. Practice Ignition simplifies the billing process based on recurring services, 50/50 after completion, upfront post-acceptance, or just a quote.
Take digital signatures, avoid credit or debit cards, and let your clients comment on the proposal for feedback. Even after the scope of your work changes, you need to add another service or make any other modification; you don’t need to start over. Just make a few edits to the existing proposals, and you are done.
Seal the deal faster and leave competitors behind by using the stunning proposal templates by Fresh Proposals. All the templates are 100% editable to create a unique look that your clients would admire.
They provide accurate analytics and insights regarding your proposals where you can see the entire interactions such as view time, pages viewed, the number of times each page was viewed, etc. Track sales performance based on total proposals sent, how many are accepted, and the revenue out of them; everything at one place in an interactive dashboard.
Use a drag-and-drop editor, get alerts, reuse already designed items, or tweak some changes. Include different design elements, pricing tables, images and videos, online signatures, section lists, etc. Facilitate better conversations with comments and messages, and upload the required documents.
With Fresh Proposals, you can set up a new sub-domain and leverage the Email Composer Studio to create your email templates for sending proposals, thanking them, or reminding them about your proposal. Send a secure proposal link that only your client can view.
Kick-start your project by sending them an exquisitely designed proposal crafted from Template.net.
They have around 516 templates, including both free and paid ones, that are completely editable so you can showcase your creativity and bring home fresh deals.
If you want to access its paid templates, you can either go for:
Pro at $8/month, or
Pro Plus at $16/month
Tips for customizing your proposal template
Finding a great proposal template, my friend, is the first half of the complete job. The next half remains on how you customize it to make it unique yet captivating based on the project type.
So, here are some tips you can implement:
Whatever tool you utilize, ensure your prospect can view and sign from any smartphone, computer, or tablet.
Tell them what makes you better than your competitors. Don’t stop showcasing your experience, certification, testimonials, portfolio, etc., and present them intelligently.
Always consider branding consistency with the same logo, color, and font.
Put your pricing in the form of a table, which makes it easier to evaluate and process.
Never clutter things. Keep it crisp but full of information placed just in the right places.
Use high-quality images and design elements, plus readable fonts.
Keep the tone formal but conversational because you are dealing with humans, not robots…yet!
Competition is tough, and you need to do everything it takes to stand out your business in the crowd. Thus, leverage the proposal templates mentioned above to simplify the design process and give it a stylish yet professional look.
Amrita is a freelance copywriter and content writer. She helps brands enhance their online presence by creating awesome content that connects and converts. She has completed her Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Aeronautical Engineering…. read more
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