How to create a consulting proposal

How to create a consulting proposal

What is a consulting proposal template?

A consulting proposal template is a document that consultants present to prospective clients regarding a potential collaboration. A business consulting proposal contains recommendations to help resolve the client’s issues, laying out the job which will be undertaken by the consultant. It is typically produced after meetings have already been conducted with the business.

What is included in a business consulting proposal?

There is a wealth of information that needs to be included in a consulting proposal, however, it needs to be conveyed in an easy-to-read concise document. Here are some tips regarding how to write the consulting proposal:

-Identify and define the specific service that you are offering; this will help the business to see what they will be getting, and also how you are differentiating yourself from competing consulting providers.

-Executive summary: This section will outline the areas that can be improved by the business, and the ways in which your consultancy will help to do so. Firstly, this offers the business an insight into how your work will positively impact their company – in a results-oriented manner – while also demonstrating your expertise and knowledge as a consultant.

-Solution: After having written the executive summary, you can expand your solution, giving more detail regarding the exact manner in which you will help the business in question. This can end with a call to action (CTA) to further prompt the committal of the business to employing you as a consultant.

-Case Studies: Use examples of your previous work, sighting company names and the results gained from your consultancy work. Including testimonials and more quantitative data about performance in your consultancy helps to increase credibility and thus make you more attractive to the potential business.

-Pricing: Laying out the pricing may also be useful in a consulting proposal. This clarifies, for all parties, the terms and rewards to be gained from the consulting. This section is, however, to no extent a prerequisite for consulting proposals – many chose to leave the price out.

What are the benefits of creating a consulting proposal template?

By creating a consulting proposal, you define more clearly what should be expected and resulting from your services. It lays down the markers for the business relationship, and thus can be referred to at any stage. Similarly, it can be useful to resolve any future conflicts; one can sight the proposal to explain or defend any future problems or actions. Having the proposal signed will also confirm its status as a legal binding document, thus making the contents all the more valuable for both the consultant and the business. Aside from the legal aspect of the proposal, it can also be used for marketing purposes. Proposing and discussing the document with business will act as a marketing piece for your consultancy.

To access top-tier consulting proposal templates, please view those provided by expert consultants below on Eloquens.com.

If you wish to find out more about consulting proposals, please refer to the websites listed here:

Being good at our craft and advertising our web design services does not guarantee us work. It doesn’t matter if we freelancers or a major web design company.

Having a confidant, well-structured work proposal, however, will definitely make a great impression on that potential client, and boost our chances of getting the job.

How to create a consulting proposal

What Is a Web Design Proposal?

A web design proposal is a written agreement between a web designer and prospective clients. It clarifies the needs of the client and the service or product that the web designer will provide, as well as the cost of this service.

The purpose of a web design proposal is to create a detailed and agreed-upon roadmap for the project that both client and provider can refer to. It’s not a contract, which is a legally binding agreement.

What to Include in a Web Design Proposal?

1. A Problem Overview

How to create a consulting proposal

In your web design project proposal, you should start with the problem overview where you show your potential client a problem their business is facing, or alternatively, an opportunity that they might be missing.

This problem statement will help you hook the client’s attention immediately, showing them how well and intimately you understand their business, their problem, and their needs.

Moreover, by stating the client’s problems, we will help them feel confident that we are the people that they are going to feel most comfortable working with and the ones that can solve their problems.

In addition to showing your knowledge, this step will help you define your responsibilities and the project’s magnitude.

2. The Proposed Solution

How to create a consulting proposal

Next, we’ll add an outline that exactly explains what you will be delivering and how you think that you can solve this problem, anything from the web design process (wireframing) to the number of webpages, specific graphic design, and the need for web development (if applicable).

Here, you need to showcase and explain the benefits of your solution and how it will impact the company in a positive way.

For example, you may point out that by implementing your design solution, the company will increase sales or conversion rates, or maybe, through your design, the company will increase its brand awareness, or maybe, you’ll help increase engagement on mobile devices and bring new clients.

Additionally, we can then add a list of project deliverables — a detailed list explaining what the client will receive in terms of products and services. This can appear as a separate part of the web design project, or combined with the next section.

This section is absolutely necessary, as it will help you avoid scope creep by presenting clear objectives.

How to create a consulting proposal

How to Write a Proposal for an Education Project

There are different types of proposals, but the two most common are business proposals and project proposals. A business proposal is sent to a potential or current client in order to obtain a specific job. A project or research proposal details a project you plan to undertake in order to solve a problem or prove a hypothesis.

Understanding the Business Proposal Conclusion

The conclusion of any good piece of writing is a restatement of the central idea, a final chord at the end of a persuasive song. A conclusion is one paragraph in length and along with a restatement of the proposal’s main idea includes a call to action, which is an instruction to the reader to do something. Ideally, what you want him to do is greenlight a project or plan. At the end of a good proposal, you’re persuading the reader to do just that, to say yes to your proposed idea.

Business Proposal Conclusion Example

Let’s say you work for a technology firm and you’ve written a proposal to a prospective client outlining why they should install your security software. You’ve already stated why this software is a good fit for their business along with the cost, timeline for installation and other important details. Now for the conclusion. It might go something like this:

Securing your data is the most important step you can take as a business owner, and I think you’ll agree that the value this security software will add to your company is priceless. Please contact us at your earliest convenience to set up a consultation so we can get started securing your company’s information as soon as possible.

The first sentence is a restatement of the proposal’s main idea, and the second sentence is a call for immediate action. Be really specific here – the reader should have no doubts as to what he should do next.

Understanding the Project Proposal Conclusion

The conclusion of a project proposal should do the same thing it does for a business proposal, but the information and tone will be different. Any type of academic writing is much more formal than the tone you’ll typically find in a business proposal, which usually gets straight to the point in the clearest language possible. In your final paragraph, you will summarize the project including the problem, motivation and proposed solution. Then you will include a call to action, which in this case will mean green-lighting the project or providing funding.

Example of a Conclusion for a Project Proposal

As an example, let’s say you’ve written a proposal to study the effectiveness of a new type of solar panel that can be used in colder, cloudier climates.

The primary goal of this project is to prove the efficacy of these new solar panels in cool and cloudy climates. Solar panels work well in sunny locations, but up to this point they have proven ineffective in other types of climates. These newly engineered panels will be tested in four locations and data will be gathered to determine their success. We need to initiate the program by October 1 in order to accurately test the panels, and your funding and support for this project are essential.

Note the more academic tone and more detailed explanation found in this type of proposal. However, it accomplishes the same goals: restating the main idea of the proposal as well as a call to action.

How to create a consulting proposal

Consulting businesses can be quite lucrative if they are managed right and utilize a free webinar service as opposed to other expensive tools. Writing a strongly persuasive consulting proposal is one crucial component for owning a successful consulting firm. But, many professionals who learn how to start their own consulting business still make big time consulting proposal mistakes that could easily be avoided. Learn how to write an effective consulting proposal to steer your business toward success below.

Understand Its Purpose

Freelance consultants need to understand the purpose of consulting proposals before they ever attempt to write one. Consulting proposals should not be the first communication between you and a prospective client. You should already have established some type of relationship prior to sending a consulting proposal. A consulting proposal should not be the tool you are banking on to win you a bid. It must be your own ability to form relationships, communicate your abilities and demonstrate proven successes in order to win a consulting contract with a given company. Do not misunderstand the importance or place of consulting proposals in the bid process when you are trying to win a deal. However, using a proposal template which looks professional isn’t going to hurt.

Before Writing

Before you ever put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboards, you need to conduct thorough research on the company you are writing a proposal for. Only then can you advance as a business consultant. If possible, you want to gain more insight into the company than the basic information that can easily be found online. Try to find out what the business goals are that you would be working to help achieve. What expectations or guidelines, if any, will the company have for you to meet. This is the only way to start writing a consulting proposal. Research before you write, just as you would for a college essay.

Offer An Overview

First, you should start writing by offering potential clients a project overview. This is the first step to writing a consulting proposal as a consultant. Inform the reader of your understanding of the project and common outsourcing challenges that you can help them avoid. Include details regarding what the clients’ will be getting from you throughout the process. The project overview statement is the first part of any effective consulting proposal.

Describe Your Plans

Next, consultants will need to describe their plans for the project. What will you actually being doing should the company choose to bring you on board as a consultant? What steps will you take to help the business achieve the desire project outcome? Outline those steps within the plans sections of consultant proposals. Keep in mind that a hospitality consultant’s plans will differ from a marketing consultant’s outline. Do not copy a quality proposal that you find online. Outlining your own helps your potential client clearly visualize your contributions to their project outcomes. That is why it is a must-include feature when writing a consulting proposal.

Provide Your Credentials

Moreover, you need to supply your prospective clients with your credentials. Whether you are a small business consultant or a marketing consultant, you need to use your skills to persuade prospects. This is the section where you can convince them that you are worth their capital. Supply them with examples of the projects you have handled in the past. Include any licenses and accreditations that they might find impressive. In doing so, you will deliver a winning consulting proposal.

The Cost

Obviously, you need to include pricing in your proposals. When writing a business proposal, the cost is perhaps one of the utmost deciding factors in determining whether or not you get the job. Include your schedule and pricing in the proposal letting you write. Be sure not to low-ball the potential clients. The sticker shock they get later when they actually get billed will ensure that you will not get any referrals from them in the future. Avoid that by being up front about consulting prices for your services. This is a necessary part when you write a consulting proposal.

Those professionals looking to start your own consulting business, whether you specialize in ticketing software or some other field, need to first learn how to write a consulting proposal. Knowing how to write consulting proposals will help make it easier for you to establish a clientele. It will also make your consulting company much more likely to achieve long-term success. Follow the steps above to start writing a consulting proposal that wows potential clients. You are sure to be pleased with the results.

How to create a consulting proposal

Last month I was fortunate enough to spend some time talking with Tom Sant, world’s top expert on proposal writing. This post contains his update on proposal-writing trends, along with other guidance he’s given me in the past.

1. Understand the concept

A proposal is a sales tool not an information packet. The purpose of the proposal is to make a persuasive case that leads to a sale. To win the business, your proposal must overcome the following hurdles:

  1. Do I know who this is? If this is the first time the customer has heard of you, your proposal will be thrown out.
  2. Is this proposal compliant? If the customer provided a template for the proposal, proposals that don’t follow that template will be thrown out.
  3. Does this proposal make sense? If the executive summary does not define the problem correctly or propose a reasonable solution, the proposal will be thrown out.
  4. Does the solution provide value? Of the proposals that met the minimum as defined above, the one that wins will be the one that provides the most value.

The remaining steps provide a method for creating a proposal that overcomes all four hurdles.

2. Research the customer.

The proposal will not win if you fail to uncover the customer’s true decision criteria and decision-makers. These may be quite different from the criteria and decision-makers defined in a Request For Proposal (RFP).

You must therefore research the customer–preferably be interviewing people in the various groups involved in the decision–to understand what’s really going on.

Please note that different groups will likely have different “takes” on what’s needed and will use different terms to describe the situation. If your proposal will be evaluated by both engineers and accountants, for instance, you’ll need to understand both, and be able to communicate with both.

3. Lay the appropriate groundwork.

Your proposal will be thrown out unless you’ve done marketing and sales activities that establish recognition in the mind of the decision-maker. There are two ways to do this:

Create a public presence. This consists of advertising, social networking, public relations, sponsoring conferences, sending speakers to conferences, publishing newsletters, and so forth.

Create a personal presence. This consists of establishing recognition through sales calls, customer meetings, emails, notes, texts, and phone calls.

4. Brainstorm your approach.

Now that you’ve done your research and laid the groundwork, brainstorm the client’s situation and your own approach to helping them. Use these questions to get the discussion started:

  • What is the customer’s problem or issue?
  • Why is this problem important to them?
  • What parts of the business are affected by this problem?
  • What corporate goals are not being achieved due to this problem?
  • How will the customer measure the success of the solution?
  • Of these success measures, which is most important to them?
  • What, precisely, will we propose?
  • How will we do this work?
  • What proof can we offer that we are qualified and competent?
  • What quantitative promise (value proposition) are we willing to make?
  • How can we demonstrate that the value we propose to offer is credible?

5. Write the executive summary.

Contrary to popular belief, the executive summary is NOT a summary of the contents of the proposal. It is a summary of the basic issues, the proposed solution, and the promised results. Effective executive summaries are structured like this:

  1. Problem, need, or goal.
  2. Expected outcome.
  3. Solution overview.
  4. Call to action.

6. Write the body of the proposal.

The body contains detailed explanations of how you will do the work, the people involved, your prior successful experience you have in this area, previous customers you’ve help on similar projects, and evidence of your core competency and financial stability.

In many cases, the customer will have already defined the structure of the proposal or provided a template. If so, follow that structure exactly. According to Sant, decisions are usually made based on the executive summary, but failing to follow a template automatically disqualifies you, regardless.

7. Mercilessly edit the whole thing.

Appearance is as important as content. There should be no obvious grammatical errors and an absolute minimum of typographical errors. If boilerplate (standardized material from other proposals) is included, it must be carefully customized to match the customer’s own situation.

Be extremely careful to edit any passages that might contain the names of other companies for which the boilerplate was used in the past. Many proposals have been thrown out simply because the proposal-writer left the name of one of the customer’s competitors in a paragraph lifted from an old proposal.

If you’re serious about a proposal, I highly recommend that, in addition to doing your own in-house editing, you hire an independent copyeditor to go over the entire proposal. I use Pure-Text, but I’m sure there are other services that are almost as good.

How to create a consulting proposal

Last month I was fortunate enough to spend some time talking with Tom Sant, world’s top expert on proposal writing. This post contains his update on proposal-writing trends, along with other guidance he’s given me in the past.

1. Understand the concept

A proposal is a sales tool not an information packet. The purpose of the proposal is to make a persuasive case that leads to a sale. To win the business, your proposal must overcome the following hurdles:

  1. Do I know who this is? If this is the first time the customer has heard of you, your proposal will be thrown out.
  2. Is this proposal compliant? If the customer provided a template for the proposal, proposals that don’t follow that template will be thrown out.
  3. Does this proposal make sense? If the executive summary does not define the problem correctly or propose a reasonable solution, the proposal will be thrown out.
  4. Does the solution provide value? Of the proposals that met the minimum as defined above, the one that wins will be the one that provides the most value.

The remaining steps provide a method for creating a proposal that overcomes all four hurdles.

2. Research the customer.

The proposal will not win if you fail to uncover the customer’s true decision criteria and decision-makers. These may be quite different from the criteria and decision-makers defined in a Request For Proposal (RFP).

You must therefore research the customer–preferably be interviewing people in the various groups involved in the decision–to understand what’s really going on.

Please note that different groups will likely have different “takes” on what’s needed and will use different terms to describe the situation. If your proposal will be evaluated by both engineers and accountants, for instance, you’ll need to understand both, and be able to communicate with both.

3. Lay the appropriate groundwork.

Your proposal will be thrown out unless you’ve done marketing and sales activities that establish recognition in the mind of the decision-maker. There are two ways to do this:

Create a public presence. This consists of advertising, social networking, public relations, sponsoring conferences, sending speakers to conferences, publishing newsletters, and so forth.

Create a personal presence. This consists of establishing recognition through sales calls, customer meetings, emails, notes, texts, and phone calls.

4. Brainstorm your approach.

Now that you’ve done your research and laid the groundwork, brainstorm the client’s situation and your own approach to helping them. Use these questions to get the discussion started:

  • What is the customer’s problem or issue?
  • Why is this problem important to them?
  • What parts of the business are affected by this problem?
  • What corporate goals are not being achieved due to this problem?
  • How will the customer measure the success of the solution?
  • Of these success measures, which is most important to them?
  • What, precisely, will we propose?
  • How will we do this work?
  • What proof can we offer that we are qualified and competent?
  • What quantitative promise (value proposition) are we willing to make?
  • How can we demonstrate that the value we propose to offer is credible?

5. Write the executive summary.

Contrary to popular belief, the executive summary is NOT a summary of the contents of the proposal. It is a summary of the basic issues, the proposed solution, and the promised results. Effective executive summaries are structured like this:

  1. Problem, need, or goal.
  2. Expected outcome.
  3. Solution overview.
  4. Call to action.

6. Write the body of the proposal.

The body contains detailed explanations of how you will do the work, the people involved, your prior successful experience you have in this area, previous customers you’ve help on similar projects, and evidence of your core competency and financial stability.

In many cases, the customer will have already defined the structure of the proposal or provided a template. If so, follow that structure exactly. According to Sant, decisions are usually made based on the executive summary, but failing to follow a template automatically disqualifies you, regardless.

7. Mercilessly edit the whole thing.

Appearance is as important as content. There should be no obvious grammatical errors and an absolute minimum of typographical errors. If boilerplate (standardized material from other proposals) is included, it must be carefully customized to match the customer’s own situation.

Be extremely careful to edit any passages that might contain the names of other companies for which the boilerplate was used in the past. Many proposals have been thrown out simply because the proposal-writer left the name of one of the customer’s competitors in a paragraph lifted from an old proposal.

If you’re serious about a proposal, I highly recommend that, in addition to doing your own in-house editing, you hire an independent copyeditor to go over the entire proposal. I use Pure-Text, but I’m sure there are other services that are almost as good.

How to create a consulting proposal

First impressions matter. To put your best foot forward, you need to make sure your proposal has a killer cover page. Title pages can often be overlooked because it comes as an afterthought once all the hard work of proposal writing has been completed. Yet, this page should be as engaging as the rest of the document.

While each proposal is unique, there are key elements and considerations that apply to all title pages. This article will share the key title page components with examples to help you put the finishing touches on your persuasive proposal.

An Informative and Intriguing Title

Allow me to present the worst proposal title:

Business Proposal to ABC Company

It’s surprisingly common but terrible nonetheless. This title is the business equivalent of labeling a book, “Book.”

Instead, your title should be both informative and intriguing. Imagine the reader sifting through a tall stack of proposals (or an inbox filled with proposal emails). Your title should catch their eye and want them to turn the page.

How to create a consulting proposal

Win More Proposals

Learn how to write better proposals in less time that win more business.

An informative title summarizes the entire document in one phrase. It’s a big job, but a vital one. The reader should understand, at a high level, the actual benefit the proposal offers once they read it.

An intriguing title pulls the reader in. This briefest summary must also appeal to the audience. Take the time to consider your audience. Contextualizing the reader will help you draft a title that would appeal to their interests. The title should answer ultimately answer the question: “why should I care?”.

Proposal Title Examples:

Instead of: “Social Media Proposal”

Try: “Brand Awareness Strategy to Support North-Eastern Sales”

Instead of: “Safety Program Offer”

Try: “Employee-centric Workplace Injury Reduction Training”

Instead of “IT Services Proposal”

Consider: “Safeguarding Your Customer’s Data with Cloud Services”

A Supportive Subtitle

The title must do a lot of heavy lifting for your proposal. It can be supported by its sidekick: the subtitle. Like any good sidekick, the subtitle should be clever and creative. This additional line allows you to expand on the relevance of the proposal while also adding specificity.

Proposal Subtitle Examples:

Pair title: Brand Awareness Strategy to Support North-Eastern Sales

With subtitle: Engaging Top Demographics with Targeted Instagram and Facebook Campaigns

Pair title: Employee-centric Workplace Injury Reduction Training

With subtitle: Implementing a Factory Floor Hazard Identification System

Pair title: Safeguarding Your Customer’s Information with Cloud Services

With subtitle: A Six-Month Transition Plan for Data Security

Proposal Cover Page

Proposal cover page also must play its role in informing the reader of background information. All proposals should have some core details, which can be referred to as ‘housekeeping’ information. The details that allow the reader to have context and allow follow-up. Cover pages should include the client’s name, your company’s full name, and the submission date.

Additional details may be required based on the type of proposal. Certain corporations or government agencies require the request for proposal number to be specified. Certain proposals require the summary or abstract to be placed on the title page. Double-check the client communication or request for proposal documents to verify that your title page ticks all the boxes.

Proposal Title Page Design

An appealing title page design can set your proposal apart in a sea of competitors. You can be as creative as you’d like with your proposal cover page as long as it is professional and industry-appropriate. The design should be appealing to the audience, while also being functional by building on the proposal’s theme.

To ensure your title page is attractive, follow general design principles and proposal formatting rules. Use lots of white space to draw attention to the key information of the title and housekeeping information. Some proposal tools come with templated designs. The text on the page should always be easy to find and easy to read. Use color schemes that are attractive but not distracting, looking to the industry or the client for preferred color choices. Ensure your design follows your organization’s branding.

When your title page is complete, print a physical copy to see if the design translates well off the screen. Your cover page should look great in digital and hard-copy. A print version can also be helpful in the ever-important proofreading process.

Keep the Title Page Persuasive

The title page is how you acquaint your client to the valuable business opportunity inside your proposal. This space offers an often-missed opportunity to kick-off the proposal with a persuasive introduction. A strong title page allows your proposal to stand out, while also highlighting your attention to detail and strength in communication. Integrate these tips into your proposal title page and it will become a competitive advantage.

As a business or marketing consultant, you have a core area of expertise. The field you focus on, and the skills and experience that set you apart from the rest.

Unfortunately, while you may be the best in your chosen field, that is not really enough when building a consulting business. You need to be able to create effective consultant proposals, to convince potential clients to make use of those superior services. Putting your proposal on paper also helps to avoid confusion later on, when clients may have assumed that something had been included, that actually had not.

Once they have decided, you need to be able to provide concise, clear and informative proposals and reports.

Communication is key to starting and building a successful business consulting proposal, and here are a few tips to make the process a little easier:

Background
Including this section helps to demonstrate to the client your understanding of their problem. It puts in writing what you and the client have discussed regarding their situation and needs, and helps define the scope of the project right off the bat.

Required Results and Objective
Based on the requirements and background of the project, this details how, and to what extent, you will help them to solve their problem.

Given the vast variance in possible objectives, this section is key. For example, your task may be only to observe a particular process from within the organization, and provide a report and recommendation on how to improve the process.

That is very different from becoming a part of the implementation after the report has been filed, and by putting that in writing early on, you and the client are on the same page when it comes to your involvement!

Assumptions and Requirements
There will usually be some assumptions that you will have to make at the outset of any project. Again, putting these in writing at the very beginning can help further down the line.

For example, you may include in your assumptions that a senior employee will be available at all times to assist with queries. Obviously, should that not be the case, your estimated time frame might be affected, which may upset your client.

Getting such assumptions and requirements out of the way from day one (or earlier) helps everyone involved to make the process run a little smoother.

Method
This section deals with the method you intend to employ in order to create the desired solution.

Outline each step in the process, and any models or techniques you intend to utilize.

Deliverables
You may include a single, or many deliverables, for example, within the project management field, each task is split into many interdependent deliverables, each with an estimated time frame.

Using these milestones to track progress helps to identify any specific delays or issues that may need to be addressed in order to complete the project,

Detailed Steps
A more in depth look at the methodology, the steps, which are also related to milestones and deliverables, are set out in chronological order.

Again, this does help, should there be a delay of any kind, to identify and correct the issue timeously, and get the project back on track.

Costs
Once the project is set out on paper as above, it is a good idea to come up with a schedule of rates for the various deliverables or steps involved.

By being as detailed as possible, you not only minimize the chance of having to add extra costs at the end of the project, but in the event that that does occur, you already have rates on which to base the additional costs.

Guarantee
It is a good idea to include a guarantee with your project. Of course, you intend to provide the service your client needs, within the stipulated time frame, and at the price agreed, but it does help to allay any remaining fears on the part of the client to have this guaranteed in writing!

Reporting
If you have set up your proposal based on this guideline, then you already have your reporting structure set up!

Periodically, during the project, you can simply update your clients on percentages completed, based on methodology, deliverables and steps required, as well as providing accurate billing based on completed portions.

Continued Correspondences
One last tip – if you start out well, keep it up! If any changes occur during the project, to the scope, deliverables, cost or methods to be used, make sure you update your consultant proposal or contract document, and send or deliver a copy to your client.

When dealing with intangible items, which you will very probably be doing as a consultant, its easy for everyone to get confused. Get everything down on paper, and that will never be a problem!