I do a lot of hiring and managing teams for my clients and have found that a lot of talented people are overlooked when looking for work online simply because they don’t know how to write a successful proposal.
Most business owners who are looking for help online are not necessarily looking for additional people on their team, they are looking for a solution to a problem and you (as a consultant) are in the position of offering that solution. So how do you present the solution successfully?
- Title the subject in your email response appropriately so that your email doesn’t get lost between a lot of other emails.
- Include an appropriate greeting, a sentence or two about their business (to show you’ve done your homework on them).
- Introduce yourself, who you are and how your expertise/experience meets their requirements. Especially keep in mind to highlight how the solution you offer is unique in terms of their problem.
- Thank them for reading your response.
- Include your signature with your contact information in the proposal letter.
- If they ask for additional information, like references, attach them or tell them that you will follow up once you’ve contacted your references to get permission to list them as references.
- Follow instructions! This is the most important step. I often disregard applications because if you cannot follow the simple instructions asked for the in RFP, how will you be able to do the complex work required of you? (For example, when someone posts on Facebook that they’re looking for help and ask people to email them, how often does it happen that this person is flooded with comments on their post, of which the “I’m interested” is the absolute worst?
- Read your proposal 3 – 4 times before submitting it. Spelling or grammatical errors NEVER make a good first impression.
- Follow up every 3 – 5 days until they say no.
Submitting a proposal is not rocket science, nor is it difficult. In fact, because I’m always looking for ways to streamline work, I’ve compiled a basic proposal to use which I then customize for each prospective client. It saves a lot of time, yet allows me to successfully give each prospective client a quick overview on how I can solve their problem.