4 Proposal Writing Tips to Close the Lead

Jennifer Barker

Senior Business Development Strategist

A new business opportunity is always a great thing. However, the excitement is often overshadowed by the next step: a written proposal.

Proposals are important for a number of reasons. They demonstrate the credibility of your business, your working style, and your results. You can probably explain all of this to the client with no problem, but putting it into words is difficult and time consuming.

Proposals are never easy to write, but they do get easier over time. Below we offer four writing tips to help you craft a proposal designed for closers.

1. Choose the Right Tone

How you say something is just as important as what you say. However, we all know that it can be difficult to accurately portray our tone and voice in written words. Have you ever sent an email or text that sounded different from your intention?

To help you choose the right tone of voice, start by considering your audience. Write with a tone that speaks to them, whether it’s professional, conversational, or educational. This will guide your writing as you try to emotionally connect with the client. Once you establish this trust, it’s easier to be persuasive and carry your brand to success.

2. Be Convincing

Some proposals are written well, but they aren’t very convincing. Remember, you want the prospect to consider you for the job, not someone else. Rather than stating facts, address the reasons why you are the right choice. To do this, use the Problem-Agitate-Solution (PAS) formula.

Start with a problem of some sort - one that relates to your audience (i.e., common pain point) and demonstrate that you understand how it affects them. Next, take the problem and exaggerate it. Don’t go overboard, but definitely point out how things can get worse. Finally, explain a reasonable solution, why it works, and why you’re prepared to deliver it.

3. Address All “Why” Questions

The main purpose of a proposal is to answer “why” questions. Prospects should feel informed after reading the document and should not feel confused. Here are some questions you should be answering in the proposal:  

  • Why does the client need help?

  • Why should they choose my business?

  • Why should they not choose the competition?

  • Why should they trust my services?

  • Why are we the experts?

4. Write Well - and Write in English

This may seem obvious (what other language would you write a proposal in?) but a professional tone is sometimes confused with one that is too technical and hard to follow. Be confident in your expertise but write in a way that your readers can understand. Otherwise, the proposal will sound impersonal. Boring your audience is a great way to get passed up by the client.

Choose short, direct sentences that are easy to comprehend, and organize paragraphs around a single topic. Giving examples makes your proposal memorable. Have someone read through the proposal for clarity and to catch grammatical or spelling errors you may have missed. Was your proposal easy to follow? Was it interesting?

Your proposal should show the client that you are the best fit. Be true to yourself - and your brand - and you won’t disappoint.

About the Author: Jennifer Barker

Jen is the Business Development Strategist for SEMGeeks and the only team member born and raised north of the Jersey great divide, i.e. the Driscoll Bridge. Her BFA in multimedia design and extensive experience in digital marketing make her both an analytical and creative thinker. Jen has lived and worked for digital agencies in two major cities over the last 17 years but 3 years ago this “gypsy living, free bird” happily put her roots down at the Jersey Shore. The struggle to defend North Jersey to the rest of the team is an ongoing battle. #TaylorHam

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