Client Experience

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4 Must-Have Elements for a High-Converting Project Proposal

Sending proposals and getting ghosted? It's not you! Before you go down the spiral of changing your services and pricing, try implementing these 4 elements into your project proposal to ensure that its effectively communicating your value to potential clients.

The essential pieces you need for a project proposal that has potential clients itching to say ‘hell yes!’.

If you’re a service provider, odds are part of your inquiry process includes sending a project proposal. Believe it or not, the design and features of your project proposal have a huge impact on whether not a potential client decides to work with you. If you’re currently getting inquiries who seem super interested in working with you, but ghost after receiving a proposal—try these proposal tips before switching anything up with your services or pricing.

An effective project proposal has these 4 things:

  1. Well-implemented branding (yours, to be specific)
  2. Is interactive so your client can self-select the service(s) they want to book. (66% of business owners prefer to receive an interactive proposal from a service provider they want to hire, as opposed to a PDF proposal.)
  3. Answers their questions ahead of time (even the ones they didn’t realize they had)
  4. Has an element of personalization to connect with your potential client

Why do you need a well-designed proposal that showcases your brand?

Because contrary to the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, we do in fact judge the perceived value of products and services based on the visuals we are presented with. (Otherwise, people wouldn’t invest thousands of dollars into professional branding!)

When it comes to your project proposal, this is your chance to use your brand’s visuals to your advantage and make sure that your proposal looks the part. That is—it makes you look like you have your sh*t together, so that potential clients feel confident about making this investment. A poorly designed proposal is bound to bring up some doubts about your skills, quality of experience, etc.—just like you could absolutely kill it at a job interview, but those who are making the hiring decision may have some doubts if you had completed the interview in your pajamas.

When it comes to the design of your proposal I recommend:

  • ensuring your background image or color spans the full width of the page, if you’re creating one in Dubsado or Honeybook
  • using your brand fonts to create a consistent experience across your website, social media, and proposal
  • using different background colors/images to break up the proposal content and make it more engaging (similarly to how you would not use a white background for an entire website page)
  • making sure your proposal design is accessible on both laptop/desktop and mobile devices, to ensure there is not a negative viewing experience on certain devices

Why do you need an interactive proposal?

Because part of providing a great client experience is decreasing the effort required for your potential clients & clients to complete a desired action. Having an interactive proposal where your potential client can self-select the service(s) and add-ons they want to book not only decreases the back & forth via email that would otherwise be needed but, if you’re sending an interactive proposal via a CRM like Dubsado or Honeybook,  also decreases the amount of work on the back-end because their selections will automatically be added to their invoice for you.

Depending on your process and the way your CRM is set up, you could even streamline the process even further by having a contract & invoice attached to your proposal for a 3-in-one document which makes the booking process even more streamlined.

In the results of my research on client experience expectation and preferences, 66% of respondents indicated that they preferred to receive an interactive proposal to a PDF one and 68% of respondents indicated that if the service provider they are working with is using a CRM (Dubsado, Honeybook, etc.) that typically makes their experience better.

Why do you need to answer their questions ahead of time?

Another part of providing a great client experience is anticipating your clients needs. This demonstrates that you’re thinking ahead, you have planned out their experience, and you are taking the time to consider what they will need next.

When it comes to your proposal, answering questions ahead of time decreases the potential need for back & forth via email and also emphasizes your expertise based on the fact that you’ve preemptively answered their questions.

Inside of your proposal, here are the ways you can address client questions:

  • Through a video walkthrough where you explain certain inclusions or features of your packages that folks commonly ask questions about
  • Through an FAQ section where you address questions folks may have—it is important to include questions that are actually pertinent to this point of the process. For example, the FAQs on your website and the FAQs on your proposal should be different because the potential client should have a higher level of understanding of your services by the time they’re receiving a proposal. At this time, most questions will be about your process and what the project will look like, as opposed to what services you offer or the details of a service.
  • Through a timeline section where you break down the phases or milestones in your project so the client can know what to expect
  • Through an expectation-setting section where you provide any ‘need-to-knows’ about working with you. For example, I provide a disclaimer that I prefer to keep my clients identity anonymous until after our project is completed and therefore will not be sharing any identifying information or tagging them on my Instagram stories—but they are welcome to do so if they would like to!

Why do you need to add personalization?

Because it’s extremely common for the inquiry process to be neglected and to leave people feeling like you don’t care whether or not they decide to work with you. Even the smallest bit of personalization communicates that you care about them as a person and not just a $ and goes a long way in making them feel valued as a potential customer.

Here’s how you can add personalization to your proposal:

  • include an introduction to yourself / your team and discuss the things you would be excited to help the potential client accomplish
  • include a personalized note summarizing why you’re excited about the potential to work with them
  • record a short video thanking them for considering you/ your business
  • record a short video walking through your packages and discussing your process in more detail

Here’s how my Dubsado proposal template helps you accomplish all four:

Well-implemented branding

She’s branded af! And while the template was created with my branding, everything is customizable including the fonts, colors, images, buttons, form fields, and more. When you purchase my templates, you also get access to a mini-course that teaches you how to customize each part of the template!

Is interactive so your client can self-select the service(s) they want to book

Check! There’s a whole section in the proposal template that’s already formatted with multiple options for displaying your packages & add-ons. All you have to do is set up your Dubsado package templates and add them into the template! (P.S. This template is still perfect for folks who do custom packages. I custom quote each of my projects and use this template every time!)

Answers their questions ahead of time (even the ones they didn’t realize they had)

While I’m not helping you come up with the content that is in your proposal, there are multiple FAQ sections so you can choose from different design layouts, along with a timeline section that ensures you and your potential client will be on the same page moving forward.

Has an element of personalization to connect with your potential client

There’s a mini about section that you can use to introduce yourself/your team, or to use as a place to include a personalized note for each potential client. Plus there’s an option to embed a Loom video if you want to say a quick ‘hello!’ or talk through different package options!

The best part? My Dubsado form template bundle comes with four other templates (2 lead captures, a contract, and questionnaire) in addition to the proposal template so that you can make sure that your entire client experience is on-brand and you can send over materials to your clients that look like they belong to your brand, instead of Dubsado!

You can purchase my Dubsado form template bundle for one payment of $300 USD, or 2 payments of $150!

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freebie alert!

Want to give your leads a great first impression?

Start off on the right foot (digitally!) with my free, customizable Dubsado inquiry workflow. Plus, you also get 4 editable email templates to plug into your workflow and a video walkthrough to help you set it all up!