Now that you have established a good relationship, built trust, established yourself as an expert, and made sure they have the budget, then you can take the time to create a proposal.
Essential tips for build proposals:
- Create a template you can reuse to save time. We included ours in this toolkit.
- Always spellcheck and proofread. I can’t emphasize how important it is to prove your competency. A proposal heavy with typos makes your brand look unprofessional.
- Include an expiration date. We give our clients 1-3 months to make the decision.
- Design your proposal to match your brand. Now is the time to show off your skills.
- Use whatever tools you feel confident in to build proposals. The goal is to save effort while looking impressive. If Keynote is your jam, use that.
- Remember – this is not the contract.
Our proposal format:
- Front Cover with contact info + expiration date
- Thank you letter
- Who we are
- Praise / Proof
- The project (goals + scope)
- Scope Limitations
- Case studies
- Thank you + contact info + printable version (for large projects that warrant the extra effort)
Build proposals with a beautiful cover page with the client’s name, a short project description, your contact info, and an expiration date. You don’t want potential clients coming back to you years later, asking for the same pricing.
Change their name in a templated letter, thanking the client for their time. Recap anything that was discussed on the introduction call to make it feel personalized.
Who we are
Show your skills, team, bios of the project leaders, what makes you unique, and your capabilities. Keep it simple so they can skim it quickly and get a good idea of who you are.
Praise / Proof
It’s powerful to show positive proof from others. Display testimonials from your favorite clients, awards you might have won, or certifications.
Now it’s time to talk to them about their project. We like to make ours with an aspirational declaration to show them we understand where they want to go. Then list the project’s challenges and deliverables. Use their own language for build proposals. This will make them feel heard.
Nailing the proper timeline will speak to your experience level. Don’t overpromise. Break it down week by week so they know what to expect, but make sure there is room for delays for feedback and revisions. We also note that feedback and revisions can delay the project, so they are aware of that fact before making any promises.
Answer their concerns
Our clients have concerns about security, speed, or the ability to edit pages in the future. We created templated pages that address all these points to reassure them that we already have systems in place.
Include scope of revisions, hours spent, maximum amount of pages, limitations of functionality, etc. This is where boundaries can be formed before creating the contract.
Break it down just enough for them to understand the costs (usually in milestones or deliverables.) But don’t give too much detail where they can nitpick and every price.
Giving two or three pricing options increases your chances to getting the project. Showing options also reduces the “can you make it cheaper” discussions because the client can see that more work = more money.
Round numbers look nice, but using detailed numbers feels more realistic. For example, we like to use $2,450 instead of $2,500.
Do you want fries with that?
Add an add-on rate sheet of deliverables when build proposals, they may or may not have asked for. Give each item a price range to leave room for different scope sizes. This can help increase your sale because it reminds them of other things they forgot they needed.
Show two or three similar projects to theirs. List the problem and how you solved it, so they know that you can do what you say you can do.
On the last page, include a brief thank you with your contact details. For larger clients, it is nice to have a simplified, printable version for them to take into their meetings.