Business Proposal Format

Using a business proposal format will make writing business proposals simple. A sales proposal template outlines each section you will need when writing business proposals. The format needs to be easy to follow and clear to the client. Setting up a basic format for your business proposal is part of your career sales training.

Overall Look & Feel
- Use Times New Roman or Arial typeface

- Use color, graphics, tables (can make for easier reading & reference) & appendices (for detailed data)

- For larger proposals put in a table of contents & break up the content using tabs

Format of Your Business Proposal

  1. Cover Page includes the title of the proposal. If the proposal is in response to an RFP use that as the title.

    I also like to include their corporate logo, as well as, my company's logo.

    Put the date presented as well as contact information. There is no footer or header on the cover page.

  2. Table of Contents is useful when a proposal is over five pages long and/or has several attachments & appendices. When listing the sections and attachments say what is in each section, attachment or appendix. Do not just say Appendix A, also provide its title

  3. Executive Summary is the most important part of any proposal. It sells your product or service. It needs to be clear, compelling and grab the reader. Learn more on How to Write a Great Executive Summary.

  4. Proposed Solution is customized to the request of the client. It could be the longest section of your proposal. When you write this section, put yourself in your buyer's shoes.


    - Scope - In detail describe how your organization will handle each item in the RFP or each item from a customer request.

    - Schedule - Provide a table or listing of proposed schedule

    - Supporting information - include any supporting information - research data, test results to back up your reasoning and/or claims

    - Staff - This section is optional. It is required in some RFP's. If not required include staffing information if it strengthens your position.Staff resumes can be attached in an addendum at the end of the proposal.

  5. Cost Provide the total cost for the goods &/or services. If required, break down the pricing information. Include payment terms, discounts for early payment, etc.

  6. Terms & Assumptions What assumptions did you make when putting together the response to the client? This section is especially important when you get a vague RFP.You probably made assumptions about aspects of the client's business in order to put together your scope of work, what resources to assign and your pricing model. Share with your client those assumptions. It will help you in your negotiations.

  7. Summary of Benefits This section is WIIFT - What's in it for them. I like to make a bullet pointed list ortable of tangible and intangible benefits for the client. How do they benefit by buying my product or service. I like to make it bullet points or a table so it is easy to read at a glance. Start with proven, tangible benefits & stay away from boilerplate language.
  8. Testimonials If you some testimonials from a well know client, senior executive, someone in the same industry or sector, it can be helpful to include.

Some key points to remember

- Proof read, proof read and proofread again - Have someone who has not worked on the proposal read it.

- Reread the RFP and make sure all concern, questions and items are clearly addressed in your response. You can also include a separate section that lists each question with your response.

- Make it interesting to read. Avoid the use of boilerplate & catch phrases everyone uses in your industry.

Setting up a business proposal format for writing business proposals saves time and effort in the long run. Whatever sales proposal template you use it should be all about the customer.

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