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How to Write Captivating Trades Sales Proposals

September 7, 2023 | Read: 14 minutes

Persuading someone to do anything can be a challenge, especially if they aren’t sold on what you’re offering.

When it comes to a trade sales proposal, yours need to be the better than the competitions in every way in order to keep your company successful…


In this blog, we’ll break down what sales proposals are, the different types, why they matter in the trade industry, and all of the required steps to crafting a winning pitch.

Keep reading to learn more everything you need to know about trade sales proposals.


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What Is a Sales Proposal?

A sales proposal is a strategic document prepared by businesses in the trade industry to pitch their products, services, or solutions to potential residential or commercial clients. 

It can be considered a persuasive tool that outlines the value proposition, scope of work, and pricing details to win new contracts and projects while expanding your client base and increasing revenue. 

Types of Sales Proposals

Solicited and Unsolicited Proposals

Solicited Proposals are sent when one of your clients inquires about work. When returning a client’s request, the proposal must be thorough and thoughtful – as they have most likely sought out more than one provider. 

Remember: you need to work within the regulations and requirements that the homeowner or project manager requests.

Unsolicited Proposals are made when a commercial client or organization opens up a request to the public for proposals. There is usually heavy competition and it will be necessary to do research and make a compelling proposal based on the requirements if you want to get selected. 

Projects that request unsolicited proposals tend to be larger and could require specialized tools and a team to complete (ex: a government entity needs a new park and surrounding area to be managed and constructed). If you’re looking for even more information on how to bid for contracts, take a look at this article.

Renewal Proposals

Renewal Proposals are commonly used to remind past commercial clients that they are due for a recurring service. 

This doesn’t always mean that the service is confirmed to take place, but it can give clients the nudge they need to renew and schedule a date for when work will take place. 

Here’s a tip: when writing a renewal proposal, touch on positive results from previous projects and highlight the benefits customers will receive if they complete a recurring service with you. 

Informal Proposals

Informal Proposals are used when a client makes an informal request (ex: an email or text) for an issue that they need resolving. They can also be referred to as estimates or quotes. 

In this scenario, it’s usually okay to respond with a less formal document that gets the conversion started about potential work. With an informal proposal, you can offer a few different options, as the client might currently be shopping for the lowest price. Informal proposals are a good way to get a conversation started and see if your business can offer what the client hopes to pay. 

Continuation Proposals

Continuation Proposals are used to provide updates to the client and let them know that the work is in progress. 

This type of proposal is not used to persuade a client (since you already have their business), but to communicate what work has been completed and what else needs to be done. 

Some clients may not request updates throughout the service, but it’s good practice, as it demonstrates a high standard of work and will provide you with a paper trail in case of conflict. You may also need a continuation proposal when working on a large project for an extended period. 

Supplemental Proposals

Supplemental Proposals are needed when you are working on a project and have to ask for additional funding or resources. 

Depending on the agreed-upon terms of the contract, this may need to be a persuasive proposal in order to not lose out on any possible revenue. 

When drafting a proposal, it’s important to remember your objective and audience. Don’t overcomplicate them with extra information and make sure you use consistent formatting and language across all documents you send out. 

Why Sales Proposals Matter in the Trade Industry

Sales proposals play a crucial role in the trade industry for several reasons:

  • They help showcase the unique offerings of a business and differentiate it from competitors.
  • Sales proposals demonstrate a company’s professionalism, attention to detail, and commitment to meeting client needs. 
  • Trade sales proposals build trust and credibility by addressing client pain points and offering tailored solutions. 
  • Well-crafted proposals increase the likelihood of securing profitable contracts and foster long-term client relationships. 

The 12 Key Elements of a Trades Sales Proposal

  1. Overview

The overview is a brief introduction to the sales proposal. It should provide a clear and concise executive summary of the proposal’s purpose and main objectives. 

This section sets the tone for the rest of the document and should immediately capture the client’s attention. If possible, try to avoid technical language in the overview to ensure it is easily understood. 

  1. Client Background

In this section, demonstrate that you have thoroughly researched and understand the prospective client and their history. Highlight their industry, specific challenges they face, and any recent achievements or developments. 

Showing a deep understanding of the client’s situation builds trust and indicates your commitment to providing the right solution at the perfect time. 

  1. Scope of Work

The scope of work outlines the specific tasks, deliverables, and objectives of the project. Clearly define what you will be providing to the client and what is not included. 

Be specific and detailed, as this section forms the basis for the project agreement. Avoid ambiguity to prevent misunderstandings throughout the entire process. 

  1. Proposed Solution

This page of the business proposal will be for presenting your best solution. Explain how your product or service will solve their problems and allow them to achieve their goals. 

Use data, client testimonials, and examples of past work to back up your claims. Tailor the solution to the client’s unique situation and clearly highlight the value they will receive. 

  1. Timeline

Outline a realistic and well-structured timeline for the request or work order. Break it down into key milestones and phases, along with estimated start and end dates. 

An organized timeline demonstrates your ability to plan and execute projects efficiently and within expectations, showing the client they can rely on you when they need it most. 

  1. Pricing and Payment Terms

Transparently present the pricing for your products or services. Offer different pricing options if applicable and explain the value each option brings. Be clear about any additional costs or potential expenses that might arise during the project. 

Additionally, provide details on payment methods and terms, such as deposit requirements and invoicing schedules. If you have a customer self-service portal, encourage them to use it and make payments using the method they’re most comfortable with. 

  1. Qualifications and Experience

This section showcases the expertise and experience of your team and company. Highlight relevant projects you have successfully completed in the past, especially those similar to the one you are currently proposing. 

Emphasize any certifications, awards, or partnerships that add credibility to your proposal. This is also a potential spot to answer some of the frequently asked questions if necessary. 

  1. Testimonials and References

Include testimonials from satisfied clients or references from commercial clients you have worked with. Testimonials provide social proof and demonstrate the positive impact of your products or services. 

Ensure that the testimonials are genuine and attributed to real individuals or companies. Most people can spot a fake testimonial from a mile away, never try and trick clients as it will only damage your credibility and reputation. 

  1. Warranty or Guarantee

If applicable, offer warranties or guarantees to assure the client of the quality of your work. Clearly state the terms and conditions of the warranty or guarantee, including any limitations. 

Providing assurances can alleviate the client’s concerns and make them more confident when choosing your proposal. They’ll also spread the word to other potential buyers about the safety of working with your business. 

  1. Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions section outlines the legal aspects of the proposal. Include important information such as liability, intellectual property rights, termination clauses, and dispute resolution procedures. 

Ensure that the terms and conditions are fair and reasonable, and use straightforward language to avoid making the client worry. If a client catches you using bad practices, you could end up dealing with a costly lawsuit. 

  1. Call-to-Action

End the proposal with a strong call-to-action that encourages the client to take the next steps. Invite them to express interest, schedule a meeting, ask any questions, or even sign the proposal. 

Make it easy for them to respond and provide clear instructions on what actions you expect them to take if they’d like to move forward. 

  1. Contact Information

Last but not least, include all necessary contact details for your company or team. Provide multiple ways for the client to reach you, such as email, phone number, and physical address. 

A responsive and accessible contact information section shows that you are open to communication and collaboration.

The 15 Steps to Write Compelling Trades Sales Proposals

Crafting a winning sales proposal requires a well-structured approach that captures your potential cleints attention and convinces them of the value you bring. Instead of pestering clients with sales calls, let the proposal do the talking for you and secure the sale without being pushy

Follow these 15 steps to create a compelling trades sales proposal that stands out:

1. Research and Understand Your Potential Customer

Before you begin writing, thoroughly research your potential customer. Understand their industry, pain points, and objectives. Tailor your proposal to address their specific needs, showing that you’ve done your homework and can offer a personalized solution.

2. Begin with a Strong Introduction

Focus on grabbing your client’s attention from the start. The introduction should be concise yet engaging, clearly stating the purpose of your proposal and highlighting the benefits your solution offers.

3. Highlight the Prospect’s Challenges

Show empathy by identifying and addressing the challenges your prospect is facing. This demonstrates that you understand their situation and are focused on the issues that matter to them. 

When a prospect needs a work order completed, they’ll find the best possible solution; if you can show them you’re able to provide it with the highest quality service, they’ll most likely choose you. 

4. Clearly Define the Scope of Work

Outline the exact scope of the project. Be detailed and specific about what you will deliver, ensuring there’s no room for ambiguity. This establishes clear expectations from start to finish.

5. Present Your Proposed Solution

When the client first reads through the proposed solution, they’ll want to understand how your plan or vision is best and more cost-effective than the competition.

6. Include a Detailed Timeline

Map out a realistic timeline for the project’s phases and milestones. This showcases your organizational skills and gives the prospect a clear understanding of the project’s progression.

7. Offer Transparent Pricing

Present your pricing structure clearly and with transparency. If you have different pricing tiers, explain the value that each brings. Accepting multiple types of payment methods or self-service options makes invoicing easy and minimizes misunderstandings later.

8. Showcase Your Expertise

Devote a section to showcase your sales teams qualifications, experience, and relevant achievements. Demonstrating your expertise strengthens your credibility and reassures the prospect of your capabilities.

9. Add Testimonials or References

Include testimonials from previous clients or references from partners you’ve worked with. Social proof validates your claims and provides evidence of successful outcomes. 

Showcase positive testimonials on your Google business and social media and don’t forget to respond to negative ones. Owning up to mistakes and righting a wrong with a client in the public eye will show potential customers that you’re there for them from start to finish. 

10. Provide a Guarantee or Warranty

If appropriate, offer a guarantee or warranty that demonstrates your commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. This shows that you stand by your work and are confident in its results. 

If something does go wrong, having the tools and resources to respond quickly will help you stay compliant in service level agreements. Word will spread about how your company is always there when needed. 

11. Lay Out Terms and Conditions

Clearly state the terms and conditions that govern the proposal. Cover legal aspects, intellectual property rights, and any other pertinent information. This ensures a transparent working relationship and gets the details in writing if there are any disputes. 

12. Use Visuals and Graphics

Incorporate visuals such as charts, graphs, and images to break up the text and make your proposal visually appealing. Visuals can help convey complex information more effectively.

13. End with a Strong Call-to-Action

Wrap up your proposal with a compelling call to action. Encourage the prospect to take the next step, whether it’s scheduling a meeting, signing the proposal, or requesting more information.

14. Review and Edit

Thoroughly review and edit your proposal for clarity, coherence, and accuracy. Typos and errors can detract from your professionalism and credibility. If inaccurate information is provided or you put a number in the wrong place, you could find yourself backtracking and unable to meet the requirements you proposed.  

15. Follow-Up

After submitting the proposal, don’t forget to follow up with the prospect (this can be done automatically with the right opportunity management software). Address any questions or concerns they might have and reaffirm your interest in working with them. 

Tracking the Stages of a Sales Proposal

Keeping track of your proposals is the same as saying keeping track of your potential opportunities or clients. If you don’t have a system in place to send out and manage your proposals, you could be missing out on potential revenue. 

After the initial inquiry has been made and the field survey has been completed, sending prospects a personalized proposal portal link will prove how much you value their business and are equipped to take on the job. 

Successful trades businesses track the status of their proposals and follow up with their leads. You’ll have to follow up if you want to win more business. Sometimes people may just forget to respond to the initial proposal if they are busy – but the first few days after your proposal are crucial, as that is when your prospects will most likely make a decision (unless they need the service immediately). 

If you don’t hear back within a few days to a week, sending a simple and quick follow-up or email reminder will consistently help you convert more leads into sales. 


Start Creating Successful Sales Proposals Today!

Now that you have a comprehensive guide to crafting compelling sales proposals, you’re equipped to win over clients and secure valuable contracts. If you’re looking for an extra tool to help you win over clients, consider a dedicated proposal management software

By following these steps, you’ll not only showcase your expertise but also demonstrate your dedication to meeting your clients’ needs effectively. Get started today and watch your sales proposals make a significant impact in the trade industry. 

Stop quoting and start selling today – Click the banner to learn more!

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Thanks for checking out the Commusoft blog - I’ve been helping business owners improve their strategies for a few years now, so I hope you were able to take something away from the content I’ve written. Feel free to continue exploring the blog - or reach out to us with any questions!

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