Is That A Proposal Or An Estimate? 6 Essentials for Every Proposal

proposal

Having been on both sides of the desk when it comes to writing and reviewing proposals, I’m frustrated when I receive estimates that are parading around as proposals; there is a HUGE difference between the two. And, the quicker you master these differences, the quicker you close more biz!

The goal of a proposal is to give the prospect enough information to say yes! An estimate merely explains the cost.

Essentials of a Proposal

  1. The Problem/Key Issue – Why does the prospect need you? What is the pain point?
  2. Credibility – I’m looking for the key reasons to hire you; why are you better than your competitors? Where are your samples? How about similar work? Do you have a portfolio on-line? References?
  3. Deliverables – What are you delivering? How are you solving their problems?
  4. Timetable – When does the engagement start and when does it end?
  5. Fee – How much does it cost? How is it paid? Is there an escape clause?
  6. Quantifiable Parameters – If you are writing copy, for example, how many drafts? What happens if it the copy needs more work?

Need help in creating a winning proposal template? Let me know! Other thoughts?   Please share in the comments below.

2 Comments
  1. Great article. I have a question.
    Is your menu of services the same thing as the estimate?
    And then is the proposal the same thing as your letter of engagement or agreement?

    Or are these four different things?
    Thanks for any insight.

  2. A menu of services is your benefit-driven listing of all that you offer. It gives enough information to whet the appetite, but it is NOT a proposal. Even though it might list the price, it doesn’t delineate the custom pain point that a particular client is trying to solve.

    For example, I offer naming services, but that doesn’t explain the custom parameters of the naming assignment that would only be included in a proposal.

    An estimate shouldn’t exist in most high ticket, high value, service offerings. Leave estimates to floor repair, painting contractors, and those type of service providers.

    A shorter commitment of time and money could be contractually cemented with a Letter of Agreement (LOA). A proposal has no guarantee of acceptance, only a contract or LOA has a legal commitment of both parties.

    Whew! Hope this info helps.

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