One thing I believe strongly about running a successful service business is that a winning client experience starts long before the client signs on to work with you. I’ve designed my inquiry and onboarding process to help my potential clients clearly understand what they’ll get by working with me. It also helps to show them how much I value their business and will put into getting them great results. A major way I do this is through my client proposals.
My client proposal process has helped create a professional inquiry experience, and 80% of the time it leads to an amazing new client!
The cover page should identify all the main details about your company, the client, and the project. Be sure to include your company info, the client’s company info, proposal date, service they’re requesting, and a relevant image that connects the proposal to your service.
I like to set the stage for the project on this page! I provide a welcome message to share more about my business and how I approach the service their requesting. This page is your opportunity to outline how your company is different from the rest and sell what you’re quoting on. I always take a fun and conversational approach, and never use corporate lingo in my proposals, but be sure to do what works for your clients!
Use this page to go into your background, experience, and your mission, vision and values. I see this page as your chance to show your potential clients a break down of other services you offer in addition to what the service they requested the proposal for. This can lead to your potential client requesting additional services that they may not have realized you offer!
I never send proposals without including a relevant (and recent) client case study. My case study includes the goal of the project, the deliverables, the success metric and what the client has said about working with me (and my team!) This is a perfect opportunity to show your potential client what’s possible for them by working with you, and also provides some social proof that you can be trusted.
Don’t stop at just one case study example, but include an extra page with a variety of testimonials from past clients for a number of different services. This testimonials page helps to showcase your various services and support what you wrote on your About Me page. – It also helps to build trust and show that you consistently get results for all your clients!
Now it’s time to get into the details for the project. This is where the bulk of the project info comes in, so I dedicate two pages to this section. Describe how you execute the service step-by-step, and include a small paragraph explaining what they’ll get before breaking down the deliverables into bullet points for further explanation.
Your project timeline should identify the large milestones within the project and also indicate when your client will need to make payments. I break down my timeline into weeks so my clients can see specifically what should be accomplished within each stage of the project.
The investment should include a summary of what’s included in the project deliverables so your potential client can see everything they’re getting right next to the price. You can also include any add on package options that your client can purchase to enhance the experience.
It’s a good idea to make sure that all the expectations are identified up front before a client agrees to work with you. Use this page to go over the details like your payment terms and conditions, kill fees, out of scope costs, and contact information.
This page is dedicated to providing a streamlined step-by-step road map to make sure all the details are clear and in one place. I ask clients to indicate that they understand the details of the proposal, or ask questions to clarify. This helps ensure that we’re both on the same page. I also ask them to sign their contract and pay their first instalment at this point.
They are able to do all this through my business management platform. After this, I contact them with next steps to get started once everything is completed.
Feel free to use these tips as inspiration for your own client proposals, and if you’d like some help creating a stellar client inquiry + onboarding experience, let’s chat about how I can help you!
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Ashley Gadd is an award-winning business brand strategist, website designer, and educator who helps clients turn their ideas into captivating and strategic brands that convert. Blending her background in nonprofit marketing with her education in design, Ashley offers customer-centric brand experiences that connect the visual and strategic dots providing her clients the tools to build a sustainable and profitable business they’re proud of.
Brand Strategist - Website Designer - Educator
Use this worksheet to bring more clarity to your business! Let this be your first step before you tackle your ideal customer profile and buyer persona.
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