Writing a Winning Proposal

Belinda Mays

By Belinda Mays

I am often asked how to put together a great proposal. In today’s competitive market, knowing how to produce a high quality proposal quickly and professionally is essential. When you submit a written proposal following the initial consult, it shows professionalism and helps to solidify you as the “go to expert.”

Okay, here goes.  As you will see, I’ve broken my recommendations down into 2 sections; technical and content. Keep in mind, your proposal is not a technical document; it is a sales document and should convey understanding and credibility.  The primary goal is to gain customer confidence and get more business.

Technical Recommendations:

  • Use a 12 point font unless otherwise requested.
  • Use standard font type like Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, etc.
  • Limit paragraph length to no more than 10 – 12 lines
  • Leave white space between lists and paragraphs for easy reading
  • Bold your headings so that each section can be easily distinguished
  • Limit section headings to no more than 3 words
  • Use graphics, diagrams, & other visuals to bring your proposal to life
  • Visual elements should have a descriptive caption to support its purpose

Content Recommendations:

  • MUST be client focused and not “you” focused
  • Clearly state the client’s current situation and all major issues discussed
  • Outline the solution for each concern the client expressed
  • Detail the resources, schedule, and costs that are involved
  • Proposal should match up with the client’s deadlines and budget
  • Include your fee schedule, terms, and acceptable methods of payment
  • Illustrate how your offerings differ and are better than the competition
  • Make sure the proposal is organized and in an easy to read format
  • Create a sense of urgency at the end by adding a proposal offer deadline

Well, there you have it. If you follow these simple guidelines you are sure to create a winning proposal.  Until next time, Get up, Get going, & Get there!!!!


Belinda Mays is a native of Sanford NC and is the founder and CEO of The Success Project, LLC, located in Atlanta GA. She consults with time challenged entrepreneurs and small business owners, providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and accountability needed to become more productive and profitable. To learn more about Belinda visit her at: http:belindamays.com