How to successfully write a proposal cover letter (including 5 quick tips)
Have you ever gone into a shop to bauy something? And there are so many brands for a single product all competing for your attention. All of a sudden you are overwhelmed.
So which one do you choose to look at first before you even consider the price? I bet you, obviously the one with the attractive packaging, right? That is exactly what your proposal cover letter should do - to create enough curiosity to make the reader want to read your full business proposal.
First impressions matter !
And your proposal cover letter should create this impression “YES, this is the company we are looking for”.
A proposal cover letter is a key part of your proposal package. It's the first document the reader sees, and it needs to make a great impression. Cover letters are essential to the proposal writing process because they often make or break a submission.
With this in mind, it is important to ensure that your letter is well written and tailored to the specific opportunity for which you are making an offer. If you are struggling to write a proposal cover letter that stands out from your competition, then you are in the right place. Here is what you will find in this post:
Table of Contents
- 1. The basics: What is a proposal cover letter?
- 2. Why do you need one?
- 3. Key elements of a proposal cover letter
- 4. How do you write a successful proposal cover letter?
- 5. Some tips for your proposal cover letter
- 6. To wrap things up
The basics: What is a proposal cover letter?
To kickstart our conversation, let's get the basic idea first of what a proposal cover letter is. A proposal cover letter is a letter that accompanies a proposal or bid sent to a prospective client or customer. It introduces your proposal and provides a brief overview of its contents. It also explains why you are qualified to provide the proposed services or goods.
Simply put – a cover letter is a short introduction to your proposal. It's the pitch that will help the reader decide if they want to read on.
The cover letter is an important part of any proposal package because it is the first thing the client sees. It should be well-written, persuasive, clear and concise.
Why do you need one?
It’s worth stating that the cover letter is not always a necessary component of a proposal. That said, when the cover letter is required, it can be vital to your company’s success.
Do your research about whether or not the cover letter is needed for any given proposal. Some might call for a cover letter, others might not. If it isn’t required, you can use your discretion about sending one anyway.
All things equal, consider your proposal cover letter to be your opportunity to sell yourself and your business to your potential client.
No matter what your reason is, there are a few key benefits to having a cover letter for your proposal :
● A good proposal cover letter can help you stand out above other companies.
● Cover letters are a great way to convince someone to read your proposal.
● You can make a strong first impression with a good proposal cover letter.
5 Key elements of a proposal cover letter
When you're asked to write a proposal cover letter, you might feel like you're only being asked to repeat everything you've already written in your proposal. But in reality, the cover letter is a very important piece of the proposal process that can make or break whether or not your proposal is considered.
A good cover letter should accomplish five things for you:
1. Introduce you and your company
As you're writing your letter, remember that the recipient of your proposal is not only your potential client but also a person. Even though they may be spending their time on business matters, they are still people who like to be treated as such.
That's why it's so important to make a personal connection with them in your cover letter, because it's a chance to get to know them and show that you care about them. Treating them like a real person will make it all the easier for them to connect with you, and it will feel more natural for the two of you to accomplish your goals together.
2. Briefly tell what services you are offering
It's important to tell the prospective client what you're offering, but briefly. This is not a time for a laundry list or a full-blown portfolio.
3. Explain why you are the perfect choice to perform the contract
A proposal cover letter should be an opportunity for you to prove that you are the right company for the job by demonstrating your understanding of the project and showing how well it matches up with your experience and expertise. It's your chance to show how you can offer them something nobody else can and why you're better than everyone else.
4. Suggest Next steps
A proposal cover letter also gives you an opportunity to express your interest in the project and your enthusiasm for the opportunity to work with your potential client.
5. Provide contact information
There are times where evaluators might want to contact you to get some clarification or some more information. But they may fail to find it in your proposal. A proposal cover letter gives you an opportunity to provide your contact information.
How do you write a successful proposal cover letter?
One of the greatest mistakes people make is to talk on and on about yourself, your experience and your recent awards. In actual fact, your client does not care about your awards or years of experience anyway.
Your goal in a proposal cover letter is not to impress the evaluator with how great you are, but rather to convince them that you can help them achieve their goals. You want to convey that you understand what their organization is trying to accomplish, and that you are the best company to help them achieve their goals.
So, what should you talk about? This six step process should give you the exact formula on what to write without talking about yourself and keep focused on the client.
Step 1. Identify the Client’s Key Business Need(s)
A strong proposal letter should start on a topic that is likely keeping the potential client up at night. This can be the challenge they are trying to overcome or the problem they are seeking a solution for.
For example, your client might be a small business owner in a financial crisis due to declining sales revenue. You need to figure out why they are requesting the proposal in the first place.
Step 2. Recommend a Solution to Meet Those Needs
Use this paragraph to give your client a broad overview of the favourable outcome(s) they’re looking for. People do not just buy a product for a price. They buy because they want some transformation or to get better. So paint a picture of what life will be like after implementing your solution. The next thing is to identify the solution and connect it to tangible business benefits. Leave the nitty gritty for your full proposal.
Step 3. Explain Your Basic Approach
After you’ve described what your solution looks like, take a minute to explain how you’ll put it into place. Use this paragraph to highlight the major services involved.
Step 4. Mention A Few of Your Most Important Differentiators
Why should the client hire you instead of anyone else?
Use the paragraph to highlight just a few of the most important factors that make you the perfect choice for the contract. Because this tends to be a longer paragraph, the best way is to break up each factor with bullet points to make things easier to read.
Step 5. Suggest The Next Steps
Give your reader a straightforward action to take if they’d like to proceed. Better yet: give them that option and a heads up about how and when you will follow up too.
Step 6. Sign it
Sign it from the frontline sales representative or executive sponsor. This should not look like a formal letter from the organization as a whole but rather a personal one.
Expression of Interest
Some tips for your proposal cover letter
A proposal cover letter is an effective tool, but it's a lot like a resume—it's only as good as its content. So when you're writing one, it's important to keep the following points in mind:
1. Keep it short and sweet.
Remember, the person you're writing to is likely a busy professional who gets dozens of queries every week. They do not have time to read a long cover letter, so keep yours brief. You want to get right to the point without wasting their time. Ideally, the cover letter should be one and half pages and not more than two full pages.
People like to do business with people who care and understand them. Make an effort to personalize each one—the more you can show that you've done your research, the better your chances are.
3. Use a conversational tone
Keep the language of your letter conversational so that it doesn’t sound like stiff, robotic business jargon.
It needs to be simple and succinct, but it also needs to entice the reader to want to learn more about what you're proposing.
4. Do not copy the executive summary
The proposal cover letter is not just a copy of the executive summary, but instead acts as an introduction to it.
Keep your explanations brief and don't simply repeat what's in the proposal executive summary. Focus on why you are the perfect choice for the client's project.
5. Focus on the customer's needs, not yours.
Remember to make it about them, not you, by explaining how their life or business is going to improve once your project is complete. Always talk about the benefits for the client in a proposal cover letter instead of talking about yourself or your company.
To wrap things up
There you have it! An in depth look at what a proposal cover letter is, a six step formula to keep focused on your client and five quick tips to write an effective proposal cover letter.
A good cover letter can make all the difference when you're submitting a proposal. A good proposal cover letter can help you stand out from the rest.
Your proposal cover letter can make or break your chances of getting the job - so follow this guide to create an awesome one!
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