One of the key aspects of a consulting freelance business is generating work, and that’s often done with proposals to prospective clients.
That means you could be generating proposal letters on a regular basis, as you continue to search for new clients and respond to requests for proposals.
To make this task easier, you can prepare a sample consulting proposal letter in advance, to use as a template any time you need to send a proposal. But you may be wondering:
We’re here to help with 7 tips for creating the best sample consulting proposal letter.
While it’s true that no two proposals will be the same, there are some essential pieces of information that will be included in every proposal letter you complete. At the very least, the material will be in each proposal, but possibly modified depending on the request of the client.
So the first step is to create a template that will serve as your sample consulting proposal letter. Do this by inserting information that will be the same for any client and any job:
The proposal letter will likely start with your business name and contact information, and include a logo or letterhead.
There will also be a section where you will insert the name of the client and the job that’s related to the proposal, along with the client’s business name and contact information.
While there may be specific skills that your client will want to know that address their specific needs, you have skills and qualifications that are relevant to any of your consulting jobs.
Therefore, consider the proposal letter as your chance to sell yourself as a consultant, clearly outlining why you’re the best person for the job. Your education, training and any certifications can be part of this section. Any work experience or volunteer work that’s relevant to your consulting business can also be included.
If you spent a number of years in a specific industry or industries, or you have a specific niche of expertise, that should be described. Then add other industries in which you have experience, to show the client that you’re a well-rounded candidate who can adapt to different environments and expectations.
A good proposal is written with the help of the client.
In the best scenario, you have had contact with the client to ensure you understand everything you need to know to write an excellent consulting proposal letter. That means asking any questions, getting clarification, and even checking on the budget for the project.
If you feel comfortable, ask the client exactly what they want from a proposal or what they’re trying to accomplish with the work.
If there are formal requirements, make sure you have the complete set of requirements, and that you understand them completely before preparing your proposal letter. Once again, ask questions if needed.
Just be sure you spend time preparing all your questions in advance, so that you can contact the client only once, and not become a nuisance. After all, your proposal is the first step in establishing a relationship with a prospective client that you hope will be lasting and fulfilling.
Once you have your template ready to go, you can use it anytime to build a proposal letter for any prospective client or job. When it comes to outlining the work you propose to do, put the client first.
It’s easy to provide great detail about your expertise and methodology, but it’s imperative to think like the client instead. Focus on helping the client solve their problem or achieve their goal, and use their communication method and style.
To do that, you will likely have to do research on the client and their industry, but it will be time well spent. Your approach needs to be tailored to each client and the work they want done.
Think of your proposal letter as a sales tool. It’s not always easy for those who aren’t in sales to “sell themselves.” But a proposal letter is exactly that, a sales tool, in which you need to explain to the prospective client why you’re the best consultant for the job.
These are part of most proposal letters, and are also tailored to the client’s needs, your approach to the problem, and what the client has asked for in a request for proposal. Clearly outline what work you will do - and in some cases will not do - along with any milestones and payment schedules.
Spend time getting this section right, for the sake of the client and your business. You don’t want to undersell yourself, and you don’t want to scare away prospective clients with extraneous tasks and costs.
The last two sections can be part of your sample consulting proposal letter and used in most of the proposals you complete: an expiration date and an opportunity for feedback and questions.
Not everyone is a fan of an expiration date, but consider it for consulting jobs that are not in response to a formal request for proposals. In this instance, the client may have contacted you or met with you and asked for a proposal. By including a reasonable deadline, you won’t have to wait 6 months and then finally hear from the client. Your plate may be full by then, or your rates may increase.
Finally, it’s good to include a request for the client to contact you for clarification or with any questions about your proposal letter, or an offer to meet to discuss it further.
You can spend all the time in the world creating the best proposal template and completing the information relevant to a specific job, but it won’t matter if you miss the deadline for the proposal, or you spend too long leaving the client waiting. Ensure you understand the deadlines, and seek to meet or exceed them.
As well, find out how the client wants to receive the proposal letter when you’re completing the research phase. After all, you don’t want to work on the proposal until deadline day, intending to send an electronic version, only to find out the client wants a hard copy sent in the mail.