10 Expert Tips to Write a Winning Consulting Proposal [+ Template]

Download the consulting proposal template at the end

Are you a marketing consultant who wants to win more business? If so, you need to read this article. It’s packed with tips on how to write a winning freelance consulting proposal.

The key is to write a persuasive consulting proposal while standing out from the competition. And we’re going to show you how. Once we explain it all in detail, you’ll be able to apply these concepts immediately!

Our goal is simple – help freelance marketers win more business by writing proposals that get results. So let us help you today!

1. Focus on the Customer’s Desired Outcomes

You might be tempted to talk about yourself. But your freelance consulting proposal should clearly explain the value and outcomes your client can expect working with you.

Avoid using buzzwords or jargon. Instead, when writing your proposal, use the exact words they used in meetings and the project description.

Your proposal should clearly state the business problem you will solve for them. What is your client’s desired outcome? How can your service specifically help to achieve this? Don’t be afraid of repeating points throughout the document, as long as you add value differently.

For example, if they mention something several times during meetings, you should include it in your proposal.

2. Keep Your Consulting Proposal Short

Keep your clients engaged from beginning until the end with a concise yet engaging proposal that does not exceed three to five core pages in length (not including the title and signature pages).

The shorter your bid, the more likely it is that they will read it. You don’t want to bore them with unnecessary details or too much information up front.

You should only include relevant content in each section of your consulting proposal. Don’t ramble on about topics unrelated to what you are proposing!

Be sure not to leave anything out, though. The more comprehensive your proposal is, the better chance you have of being awarded their business.

3. Write in a Professional Tone, but Lose the Legalese

When writing your proposal, remain professional but drop the formal legalese. That’s not how most clients talk or write. So keep that out of your proposal unless your goal is to confuse your client with jargon and legalese.

It doesn’t add anything except make your buyer feel like they should send your proposal to their lawyer for feedback before they sign it.

You can write terms and conditions in plain language. So it’s not that hard to do.

4. Analyze and Clarify the Project Description

An excellent freelance consulting proposal provides the project scope and details based on the client’s needs. Often, you’ll develop the scope based on the project description. However, ensure you clarify the scope, timeline, budget, expectations, and outcomes. Details can get “lost in translation.”

The more you’re aligned with the client, the easier it will be to sell your freelance consulting services and show them how they will work with you.

If not, it can create confusion during negotiations or at a later date. Also, you can reduce “scope creep” once the project kicks off. Scope creep happens when details or deliverables of the project change throughout the project.

If you’ve been a marketing consultant for a while, like me, I’m sure you loathe scope creep. Well, unless you can turn it into a change order.

5. Know Your Competition and Differentiate Yourself

It’s essential to analyze your competitors. First, you need to determine what your competitors offer. Then, find a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. Your proposal should clearly show clients why your services are the best choice.

Most importantly, learn how to differentiate yourself through a well-defined value proposition. Your value proposition should be a clear statement of the value you offer and why it’s unique.

Hiring a consultant is not cheap. And the client wants to invest in you because they know they’ll get a return on investment.

So be sure to present yourself as an expert who will provide the best value and results.

6. Only Bid on Projects You’re Qualified for

Clients spend a lot of time evaluating freelance consulting proposals. Don’t frustrate them by bidding on a project you’re not qualified for. It’s better to not bid on a project than lose a client or have a consulting project fail because your skills don’t meet their requirements.

Once I was asked by a Japanese firm to conduct a project that didn’t match my experience and skillsets.

I was transparent with the client on my knowledge, skills, and experience. I told the client they’d be better off hiring someone else. 

They respected my honesty so much that they sole-sourced me for a project, 3-times larger, one week later. That client told me that my transparency was the reason for asking me to do the larger project.

Always ask yourself the following questions: Do you have experience in the niche? Do you have the expertise to provide the outcomes the client seeks?

If you can answer yes to both questions, include relevant samples or references with your bid.

7. Follow Up After You Send Your Consulting Proposal

Don’t just send your freelance consulting proposal and wait to hear from the potential client. As a freelance marketer, your success depends on closing deals. Make sure you do everything possible to secure the business.

Follow up with your client to determine if your client received the proposal and whether or not you can provide any additional information that might be helpful to them.

Following up in person is always best. If you can’t, at least schedule a video call with your client. Don’t miss a consulting opportunity because you didn’t follow up.

8. Don’t Take Rejection Personally

You won’t win every consulting bid. You’re going to lose some too. But, if you follow the tips in this article, you know that you have done your best by preparing and submitting the best possible proposal. 

If you lose, that’s ok. Don’t take rejection personally. Evaluate what happened. You can learn from your analysis and improve your next consulting proposal.

Take a moment and move on to the next opportunity.

9. Know your value, then don’t reduce your price

Know your value and don’t undersell yourself or undercut your value with price points so low it causes suspicion of what you’ll deliver in return for their money. A healthy consulting fee is crucial if you want clients to respect and trust you as a marketing consultant.

The client should feel they’re getting a good deal and that you’re compensated fairly. Always consider the following when determining your consulting fee:

  • How much value will you add to the client’s business?
  • What is their budget for this type of project/assignment?
  • Why are they spending money on outside help?
  • How much time will this project take?
  • What other things could you be doing if it weren’t for this project?
  • Will your consulting fee cover the opportunity cost of not focusing on these other areas?

Be sure to include a section in your proposal that features how important and valuable your work will be. Highlight why they need you, an expert, on their team.

10. Show some personality

A consulting proposal isn’t just a document. It’s an extension of your brand. Therefore, your proposal should be professional but show some personality.

Remember, you’re clients might be evaluating several proposals, which can get boring.

Interjecting a little personality can differentiate you from the pack. Plus, people want to work with people they know, like, and trust. So showing some personality can go a long way in building that relationship and rapport.

If you’re a marketing consultant, it’s crucial to write proposals that demonstrate your expertise and help land the business. Our article today was packed with tips on how to do just that! 

At the Weekly Consult, our goal is to help consultants win more business. We help freelance marketers win more business, run their businesses efficiently, and live fulfilled lives.

Download your free consulting proposal template

Edit and customize the template using Canva

Click below to read more articles to help you with your freelance consulting business.

Stewart Swayze
Stewart Swayze
Stewart Swayze is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Weekly Consult. He's a B2B Marketing Consultant that supports large companies and private equity firms. He conducts market research, collects VOC, and creates go-to-market strategies. Stewart also conducts commercial due diligence projects for private equity firms. He's lived, traveled, and worked all over the world. In his spare time, he enjoys trail running, walking his dog, dinners with his family, and woodworking.

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