No matter what you do for a living, much of your success will hinge on how good you are at asking for things. Whether it’s a raise, a collaboration with another business, or a high-dollar contract, communicating what you’re asking for and conveying the benefits to the other party will play a big role in determining the trajectory of your career. We’ll explain how to write a business proposal letter that outlines your ideas clearly and compellingly.
What is a proposal letter?
A proposal letter is a professional document to introduce yourself to a decision maker and propose the services you’re offering or the arrangement you seek to establish.
In some cases, a proposal letter is merely the introductory document, directing the reader to a longer, more in-depth proposal. In other cases, the proposal letter contains all the necessary information.
Why it’s important to send a business proposal letter
A proposal letter helps you put forth a professional image and strategically make your case. Since it’s usually the first interaction between two parties on the verge of a possible business deal, it’s important to write a letter that makes a positive impression.
This is also a useful tool for making progress in your professional life. It can be used to land new clients, establish mutually beneficial business relationships, and push your creative ideas forward.
When should you send a proposal letter
When pitching your services
The most common use for a proposal letter is when you’re selling your services to a prospective client. This might be done on behalf of your employer, like if you work for some type of vendor, or on your own behalf if you’re a small business that provides a service.
To collaborate with another business
Proposal letters can help you make inroads when you’re looking to establish a two-way partnership with another business, like when trading services or enlisting another business owner’s help to achieve a shared objective.
When responding to an RFP
Responding to RFPs is a routine task in many industries. A proposal letter is an introductory document in the RFP process.
What to include in a proposal letter
A brief introduction
Begin by stating who you are and giving some context about what your business does.
The purpose for your letter
Give a high-level statement of what you’re proposing.
Your selling points
Highlight what’s in it for the reader–what can they hope to gain by agreeing to your proposal?
The proposal details
Outline the specifics of what you’re offering or asking for, along with details like the cost, timeline, etc.
If it’s an RFP response, there will likely be a lot more information you’re asked to provide, like references and work examples. You might also attach a full proposal that goes into more thorough detail.
Your contact info
Close with how to get in touch with you and invite follow-up contact.
What you should omit
A detailed proposal
Your letter should fit succinctly into the body of an email. In-depth proposals that run for multiple pages should be attached or sent separately.
Sample proposal letters
Business collaboration example
Business proposal example
Since this document literally translates into dollars and cents, it pays to hone your skills perfecting your proposal writing capabilities.