Sneha J

May 11, 2021

Do Not Make These 5 Mistakes When Developing a Business Proposal

Mistakes When Developing a Business Proposal

Your business proposal is the formal presentation of your company, your services, the clients you serve.

You can use a business proposal any time when you want to get a new client or if you have an existing client that wants a new set of services from your company.

So, to ensure your business remains competitive and effective, you need to craft a business proposal (by following the checklist) that is well organized, concise, and contains all the relevant details the prospect needs.

Business owners normally ask for multiple proposals from multiple companies to decide which one is the best fit for their project needs.

Yet, we see many instances where sales professionals make common business proposal writing mistakes which cost the business tremendously.

Example of mistakes when developing a business proposal

Of course, you know how beneficial it is to tailor your business proposal template as per the needs of the prospective clients. However, sometimes, recognizing what not to do is equally important. Here are some of the top mistakes you must avoid when creating a business proposal.

Mistake 1: No interactivity and visual elements

Imagine a Newspaper without pictures and only news to read in plain text. 

Will you be able to read it?


The reader needs videos, images, pie charts, graphs, and most importantly “Colors”. Your project proposal should stay in their minds because of the visuals you’ve used.

Visuals are the first impression readers get of your brand. Visuals keep the reader engaged and urge them to continue reading.

Gone are the days wherein the proposals are sent using printed papers. Even the days of sending proposals in PDF, MS Word, PPT format are numbered. The technology has been such great enabled, it allows you to showcase your best work using videos, tables.

Have a short video of a client testimonial – Why not include it in your proposal? Old PDF, MS Word will not allow you to display and run your video.

Fortunately, there is a way you can easily avoid these new-gen mistakes proposal writers make- the right business proposal template. It allows you to, not only customize your proposal but make it more interactive, more visual.

Mistake 2: Missing cover letter

You can’t be making this specific mistake proposal writers make while writing proposals. You have to think like a PRO, you have to make it easier for prospect/buyer to quickly shortlist you because you know that your services are the best for their business problems,

You have to write a proposal with a cover letter that summarises your understanding of the challenge which the client is trying to address and you have the right solution (And you may have delivered recently to similar customers).

Not only it is the purchasing person/buyer but all the decision-makers, influencers, and other stakeholders will be looking for quicker ways to evaluate your entire proposal. If your proposal has the right executive summary, they will be happy to delve further.

Related article: Essential elements to create a flawless business proposal

Mistake 3: Less focus on the prospective client’s pain points

Your prospective clients do not care about your business your services.

I’m sorry but it’s true. All they care is about how it benefits them. Don’t take it personally but it’s just natural human behavior.

And it would be a big mistake – if you are talking mainly about your company, your achievements, your success, your process throughout the proposal.

When you’re pitching your services it is absolutely essential to highlight how your services will help your prospective client and not your business. 

You have to sing the tune that your prospect would like to hear.

You should craft the business proposal template such that prospective clients will feel that you understand HIS BUSINESS, his problem/pain areas, the changes he would like to implement, the results he would like to see.

Keep that evaluation ready for your prospect. Let him know that you understand his business, processes, the problems very well and how well you can help him overcome those problems, grow his business, etc

Mistake 4: Failing to review the final draft

Do you know, if you are sending a proposal with typos, misalignment, grammar mistakes, you are preparing yourself to lose the deal?


Are you serious?

Typos and proofing errors in your proposal highlight your lack of seriousness. Only an unprofessional proposal writer would be careless enough to do so

Clients might think that if you are not taking time to verify & address these simple mistakes then what are other shortcuts are might taking during the course of engagement/consulting/ assignment?

Plan it out. Create an outline. Write the copy. Put it through proposal automation software, use Grammarly kind of proofing tools.

Check for spelling errors, improper words, misalignments, formatting woos. Correct anything and everything which will not reflect well on your business.

Mistake 5: Too long; didn’t read

Do you have that much patience and time to read that long forwarded message?

You will probably just read a few lines or you will simply ignore it.

The same theory applies to business proposal writing.

Yet another business proposal writing mistake the sales team makes- making the business proposal template unnecessarily long.

The key to developing a winning business proposal is to make every word count. Trim down all the fat and draft a proposal that is brief and to the point so that the client won’t reject it at the first glance. Never allow your client to check out the other proposals that are in line by making this silly mistake.


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