How to write a proposal that puts your best foot forward

When a prospect is considering hiring you to develop software, the first question they're going to try to answer is this: can they depend on you? Are you worth their investment?

Your proposal is your first—and therefore best—chance to persuade them that yes, you are worth it. So remember that your proposal represents you and is your best chance to make a good impression.

Keep these sales proposal writing tips in mind as you show prospects you’re worth every penny.

how to write software proposal sleek tie

The good proposal extends your brand

A prospect may see your proposal before they see anything else about you or your company—not your snazzy office, not your sleek tie, maybe not even your business card.

So if you are willing to take the time to design your office or dress to the nines (or maybe just the sevens on casual Fridays), why not treat the aesthetic of your proposal to the same attention?

Your prospect will form an opinion of you before they read a word of your proposal, so develop a look for your proposals that you feel matches your brand.

Tell a prospect who they are—then tell them who you are

Once your prospect actually starts reading, they will be trying to address a concern: if they hire you, they are entering into what could become a long-term relationship. That can sometimes be risky if the concern isn’t mutually understood. So make sure that you explain their problem back to them. This will show that you are capable of bringing real solutions to their concerns, and that you understand the prospect’s business. Understanding is the key to any business relationship.

But that relationship must also be mutual, so tell the prospect about yourself. Why should your prospect pick you from among the competitors? This is your chance to make a pitch for yourself, not just what you're selling—who are you and who is on your team? What have you accomplished and what business values fuel the work you do? Introducing yourself as a proven partner with shared values can convince a prospect you’re The One.

how to write proposal software get in and out

Get in and get out! Keep your proposals brief.

The more you write, the more you are asking of your prospect—remember, nobody reads software proposals for fun. You will get more points for being concise than you will for answering every possible what-if question. And don't use jargon—you don't know the level of expertise each reader will have.

Keep your language simple, direct, and focused on customer benefits--bundle that all in a proposal that reflects and builds your brand, and you’ll always be putting your best foot forward.