Career Development

How to Write a Business Proposal Email (With Example)

March 12, 2021

Key takeaways:

  • Include your buyer persona, needs analysis, objectives, timeline, proposal scope and costs.
  • Ensure your email is professional and easy to read including all information requested by the recipient.
  • Include any required next steps or a call to action requesting a specific action from your audience.

A business proposal email is a persuasive sales document sent to clients to gain business. Learning how to write an effective business proposal is essential for the growth of your company. Business proposal emails can take many forms and can be sent to new or existing clients to support revenue growth. In this article, we explain how to write a successful business proposal email.

What is a business proposal email?

A business proposal email is a letter sent in the early- to mid-stages of a sales pipeline. This type of proposal is most common in business-to-business transactions. 

A business proposal might be sent after a potential client has agreed to review the terms in a sales transaction. This is called a solicited business proposal. Solicited business proposal emails can be stand-alone sales documents or used to fulfill requests for bids, research or grant proposals. 

A business proposal email could also be the first point of contact with the buyer. In these cases, it’s an unsolicited business proposal.

Either way, a business proposal email must be effective if it is going to grow your business. A successful proposal has a strong introduction with a clear objective statement, succinctly outlines what is being proposed, follows a proposal email format and requires acknowledgment by both parties.

Related: How to Write a Cold Email

How to write a business proposal email draft

Consider your business proposal email as a sales pitch. What do you need to include in this draft to make the sale? First, it has to be convincing. Second, a business proposal email should also be an accurate depiction of what’s being offered.

Create your business proposal email draft by following these steps:

  1. Complete a buyer’s persona.
  2. Conduct needs analysis.
  3. Focus on your objectives and timeline.
  4. Outline the proposal scope.
  5. Include cost figures.

1. Complete a buyer’s persona

A buyer’s persona is a document that includes things like buyer demographic information, values and motivating factors. Consider exactly who you are writing a business proposal for. Determining the buyer’s persona will help you decide several vital elements, such as tone, the expected formality level and sales content. 

One way to create a buyer’s persona is to interview existing clients. For example, you can send an email survey to clients. In the survey, you can collect personal demographic information that tells you more about who the buying decision-makers are among your client base in terms of age, gender and occupation.

You may learn you’ve been targeting marketing directors when the people who decide to purchase from you are actually the chief executives.

Many resources today gain targeted user information from popular social media platforms. However you choose to research your clients, use the information you collect to write a generalized buyer description. That’s your buyer’s persona. 

This description should be considered in all of your sales communications with this audience and other identical audiences, sometimes called look-alike audiences. 

2. Conduct needs analysis

Research any information relevant to the specific client you are targeting with your proposal. This is referred to as a needs analysis. Ideally, during a needs analysis, you have an opportunity to sit with the potential client and ask them questions. 

One example of a needs analysis question would be, “If you could wave a magic wand and solve one problem in your business, what would it be?” Another example question might be, “Imagine we solved the problem you mentioned earlier. How much time, money and other resources would that save your business?” The goal of asking these questions is to get information that is actionable in creating your proposal. If you are sending an unsolicited proposal or fulfilling a request for a proposal, you may only have access to a limited amount of information. 

Your needs analysis research should then include talking to other people within your network who can tell you about the needs of your potential client, if appropriate. You could also spend time online to learn more about the company so you can anticipate their problems and provide a solution.

Related: Negotiation Skills Definition and Examples

3. Focus on your objectives and timeline

Your business proposal email should start with an objective statement. In a more formal context, this would be an executive summary. A proposal email is unique because it doesn’t require an executive summary, but you still need to make your objective clear at the top of the email. 

To know the objective of your proposal, consider these questions:

  • What does the client need?
  • What client issue does this proposal solve?
  • How is your solution the right answer to the client’s issue?

Example: “Bizzy Commercial Floor Care’s objective in sending this proposal is to decrease the cost of Family Grocer Company’s nightly cleaning service by 15% using only direct-hire labor.”

This objective statement solves two problems for Family Grocer Company. First, it’s decreasing the client’s floor care cost, and second, it’s ensuring quality standards are met by not outsourcing the cleaning duties.

A good objective statement will create intrigue at the top of the email, which is essential, especially for unsolicited proposals where you have little or no relationship with the potential client.

You should also think about the project timeline. In the case of Bizzy Commercial Floor Care, they may need 30 days to hire the labor to take on Family Grocer Company’s business, and the term of the agreement could be six months, one year, or month-to-month. These are all items that should be considered and included early in the business proposal email process.

4. Outline proposal scope

With an objective and general timeline decided, the scope allows you to go into the details of how the project will be executed. 

The “scope” is a common term used to describe the who, what, where, when, how and why of the proposal:

  • Who: Who will work on the project? This includes stakeholders, account managers and the labor force. Who will be the main point of contact for the client? Who will deliver the product or service?

  • What: What’s going to be delivered? What will the project cost? What are the payment terms? What duties will be required of the client? What responsibilities will be taken on by you?

  • Where: Where will the project take place?

  • When: When will the products or services be delivered? Is it recurring on a schedule or is it a one-time delivery? When can the client reach customer service if there is an issue?

  • How: How are issues communicated? How will the project be implemented? If recurring, how many times? How will you ensure you are meeting the standards of the client?

  • Why: Why should the customer work with you? Why did you choose this product or service as a solution to the client’s problems?

5. Include cost figures

For the proposal to be effective, the client should be able to acknowledge and agree to the cost.

Use the information you’ve already gathered to offer a price in your proposal. If you had the chance to do a needs analysis where you spoke to the client, you might already know the client’s desired cost. Still, by estimating labor costs and other business expenses, you can generate a price that benefits both you and the customer.

Example business proposal email

Use this sample business proposal email to create your own:

Greetings Mr. Paul,

My name is Austin Schick, and I am a business development manager with Bizzy Commercial Floor Care. My objective in sending this email proposal is to decrease the cost of Family Grocer Company’s nightly cleaning service by 15% using only direct hire labor. We can do this within 60 days of proposal acceptance.

Here’s how the transition would be implemented:

First, Bizzy Commercial Floor Care will hire the labor to work in all 36 Georgia stores within 30 days.

Within 60 days, we will deliver on nightly cleaning services, including scrubbing and buffing floors, high dusting and polishing fixtures. We will do this overnight, seven days a week, and Family Grocer Company will have access to a customer service line available for them to dial into at any time if there are issues. I will be your main point of contact throughout this process.

We at Bizzy Commercial Floor Care believe this will solve the issues you discussed in our meeting. First, you said you were concerned with ensuring quality standards are met, but you also want to reduce costs. We are offering our services for $300 a day and will continue services on an ongoing basis.

Thank you for your time. I will follow up in one business day if I haven’t heard from you sooner,

Austin Schick
Business Development Manager
555-123-3214

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