How to Write a Bid Proposal Letter

Successful bids take a bit of work to create, but not everyone knows how to write one.

So, how do you write a proposal letter that grabs attention?

If this is your first time writing a proposal letter, here are the things you need to remember:

Leah Hazelwood

Leah Hazelwood

VP of Marketing and Admin, Go-Forth Pest Control

When I write a bid proposal, I ask myself. If I was reviewing aka skimming a stack of bids, what would make one stand out over another?

  • Price
  • Anything unique about one company over another

I certainly acknowledge that I wouldn’t read every word on every bid. So, I structure my bid proposals as follows:

  • Introduction. This is to thank them for the opportunity (they won’t read this but I think it is professional and polite).
  • A list of bulleted reasons why the company is their best choice. The “headline” of each point is bolded, and then I have a short explanation of that point beneath the bullet headline (in case they want more info – mostly they will just read the bullets). (examples would be location, size, technological tools, communication methods, years in business, experience with similar projects)
  • Prices. I make sure to set this as bolded.
  • A brief statement listing of any credentials. These credentials are standard in the industry (licensing, certification, insurance, etc) but required by the bid (they assume these are the case but it is good to state them so they know they aren’t wasting their time with an unqualified company)
  • A closing with contact info. Again, thanking for the opportunity (again won’t read but need to have for follow up). Make sure that the easy-to-digest, to the point in bid proposals demonstrates how easy it is to work with your team. Be efficient, don’t waste their time, and don’t use flowery language to qualify why you are their best choice – just straight facts.

Nate Masterson

Nate Masterson

Business Consultant | CMO, Maple Holistics

Human interaction prior to a bid proposal letter is vital before writing a formal proposal letter

Before reading the letter, the decision-making individuals should have heard about your idea from you in a personal setting so they are familiar with it and see that you are enthusiastic about it. After the initial personal interaction with the decision-makers, they may ask you to write a bid proposal letter.

The introduction should be very eye-catching

Within the first five minutes of reading the bid proposal letter, they will make a decision about your proposal. It is important to make a big impression in the beginning. Demonstrate a problem or issue, your projects vision for solving the issue, plan to solve the issue, and finally how the cost of fixing the issue will be worth the expenses paid to your project.

Reuben Swartz

Reuben Swartz

Founder, Mimiran

The biggest mistake people make writing a proposal is making it about themselves instead of the buyer. A proposal is a story, not a brochure. The hero of the story is the buyer. The buyer is Luke and you are Obi-Wan. And don’t forget that a compelling story needs a great villain– a reason for the hero to take action now.

Start your proposal from the perspective of the buyer

What problem do they face? Why is it important? And urgent? Why have their previous attempts to solve this problem failed? And what makes you the right one to provide the solution? Then the rest of the proposal, describing the solution, the investment, and the terms, flows from that beginning.

You can check your work by highlighting your proposal, with green for words about the buyer, red for words about you, and yellow for things that really don’t belong in there at all.

Clare Bittourna

Clare Bittourna

Marketing Designer, Codal

We complete many proposals per week and have tailored our proposed approach based on client feedback and projects we’ve won. Here are some tips we have for what going into a successful sales proposal:

Always begin a proposal with the project goals

There is a purpose behind every project and your sales proposal should reflect the prospects goals, wants, and requirements. Focus on these project objectives, and show how your company’s process can meet their goals; this should be specific towards the client, and shouldn’t be “boilerplate,” templated content.

Break up your proposal with imagery and project examples

Showing prospects your service or product in a visual manner, rather than straight text. It can be difficult to digest a 50-page proposal that you send to a prospective client, so I believe that imagery and visuals are crucial.

Lastly, schedule a time to walk through your proposal with a prospective client, do not just send it in an email

On a proposal walkthrough, it’s easier to gather some of their feedback immediately and get their questions answered right away, instead of going back and forth through email.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I reuse a bid proposal letter for different clients?

While it may be tempting to reuse a bid proposal letter for different clients, doing so can undermine your chances of winning a contract. Each client and project is unique, so it’s important to tailor your bid proposal letter to the specific requirements and challenges of the RFP.

However, you can certainly use previous bid proposal letters as a template or reference point and adapt the content to meet the needs of each new project.

How can I handle the pricing section of my bid proposal letter?

When addressing the pricing section of your bid proposal letter, be sure to provide a detailed breakdown of costs that is both transparent and competitive. Be sure to include information about labor, materials, and any additional fees or expenses.

It’s also helpful to explain the basis for your pricing and, if possible, show how your pricing structure adds value to the client. Finally, be prepared to negotiate on price if needed, but focus on the value and expertise your company brings.

How long should a bid proposal letter be?

The length of a bid proposal letter can vary depending on the complexity of the project and the client’s requirements. Generally, a bid proposal letter should be concise and include all necessary information without being overly wordy.

Aim for two to four pages, but prioritize quality and clarity over an arbitrary page count. Be sure to write a compelling and informative document highlighting your company’s capabilities and expertise.

What should I avoid when writing a bid proposal letter?

There are some things you should avoid when writing a bid proposal letter. Refrain from using excessive jargon or complex language that may be difficult for the client to understand. Avoid making unrealistic promises or exaggerating your company’s capabilities.

Be careful not to overlook any essential details or requirements from the RFP, as this can disqualify your proposal. Finally, avoid submitting a generic, one-size-fits-all proposal; instead, tailor your letter to the client’s and the project’s specific requirements.

How do I follow up after submitting my bid proposal letter?

Following up after submitting your bid proposal letter is essential in demonstrating your commitment and interest in the project. Wait a reasonable amount of time (usually one to two weeks) after the submission deadline, and then follow up with a friendly email or phone call.

Express your gratitude for the opportunity to submit a proposal and reiterate your enthusiasm for the project. You can also ask if the client has any questions or needs additional information. This shows your professionalism and willingness to work together.

How do I handle rejections or feedback after submitting my bid proposal letter?

Rejections and feedback are a natural part of the bidding process, and handling them appropriately can help you improve and be successful in future proposals.

If your bid letter was unsuccessful, you should first thank the client for considering your proposal and express your interest in working with them.

If possible, request feedback on your bid proposal to identify areas for improvement. Use this feedback to refine your approach and improve the quality of your future proposal letters.

Should I include visuals or graphics in my bid proposal letter?

Including visuals or graphics in your bid proposal letter can effectively convey complex information and make your proposal more appealing.

However, it is important to use visuals judiciously and ensure they add value to your proposal. Examples of appropriate visuals might include charts or graphs that illustrate your company’s past performance, project completion timelines, or diagrams that detail your proposed solution.

Ensure a clean, professional layout, and avoid cluttering your proposal with unnecessary or distracting visuals.

How do I handle my bid proposal letter’s timeline and project milestones?

Effectively handling the timeline and project milestones in your bid proposal letter is critical to demonstrating that you can deliver the project on time and within budget. Start by outlining a realistic and achievable timeline that considers the project’s complexity and potential obstacles.

Break down the project into phases or milestones and provide an estimated completion date for each phase. Justify the proposed timeline and explain how your company’s experience and resources will enable it to meet these deadlines.

By presenting a well-structured timeline, you assure the client that your company can manage the project efficiently and effectively.

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