Proposal cover letter example

Once you've put together a proposal, it's common to think, ‘Now what?'. We're here to answer what's the best cover letter you can send with your proposal to close a deal. 

Within a proposal cover letter, there are a few different components that you need to consider.

  • A cover letter is more casual than an executive summary
  • It's structured like a letter and has a greeting and sign off
  • Not focused on strategy, but is more conversation
  • Should focus on the unique strengths that you can bring to a project

In this blog, we'll be covering how a proposal's cover letter differs from a job application letter, how it's structured, and the tips that'll help you close deals.

But first, let's go over what one is and why it's so important in getting your business proposal read.

What is a cover letter?

Cover letters help you grab the potential client's attention quickly. It's a short, single-page document that includes an overview of the most critical details of your proposal. If you haven't yet written the proposal, we have a sample business proposal you can read here with some templates to help you get started.

The goal of a great cover letter is to convince the client to read the rest of your proposal, so you'll want to make the writing as interesting as possible. You can mention any critical details you think will help you land the job, including your past results, skills, and education. You should also cover the key aspects of the project you're pitching. Think of it as a stripped-down version of an executive summary.

writing an executive summary

Why is a cover letter important?

Clients can be very busy. A cover letter helps clients decide whether they're interested in reading the entire proposal. This means that having a strong cover letter is just as important as the business proposal itself.

Take this as an opportunity to give clients a great first impression. A business proposal tends to be more factual, while a cover letter has the benefit of being more personal. By sparking an emotional connection early on, you'll have a much higher chance of them reading the whole pitch.

A good proposal can also help you get your foot in the door of larger companies, even if you don't have a connection to anyone working there. Just warm up a cold pitch by attaching a cover letter to an unsolicited business proposal.

This is especially important at the beginning of your career, since you may not have the funds to reach clients through traditional marketing. Cover letters can be a powerful way to land clients without having to spend any money on new client acquisition costs.

We have some tips that'll make this process easier, but first, it's important to talk about the traditional structure of a cover letter.

How to write a proposal cover letter

Let's briefly walk through the structure, since the information you'll include will be slightly different from a traditional job application cover letter.

A proposal letter looks like this:

  • Contact information
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Outro
  • Next steps

It may seem pretty standard, but the information in a business proposal cover letter will be a bit different from other cover letters. Here's a closer look at each paragraph:

Contact information

Start off by adding your name, address, phone number, and email to the header. Feel free to also include the potential client's contact information. Although it's not as important now with email as it used to be in the days of snail mail.

Pro tip: Drop a link to your LinkedIn profile in the heading too. This lets them get a better feel for who you are and can even provide them with additional information that you didn't have room to include in your cover letter.

Introduction

It might be tempting to breeze through the introduction to get to the "meat" of the letter, but the introduction is actually one of the most important parts. You need to capture their attention right away, so come up with an engaging way to introduce yourself and what your business does. It's one of the few spots of a cover letter where you can inject your personality into the writing, so make it count!

Body

This is where you'll address the company's needs and how you plan to help them. Unlike a traditional job application, a business proposal's cover letter has the intention of selling a service or product. Be sure that the writing is sharp and highly persuasive. You want to generate enough excitement that they move on to your executive summary and, ultimately, read the rest of the proposal.

You can include any core strengths and past results that have helped previous clients. However, keep this section concise by sticking to just a few of the most important details that directly apply to the client. End this section by covering how you plan to achieve the goal you're pitching. Think of this as more of an "overview" of your plan. They'll get more details when they read the rest of the proposal.

Outro

Like the introduction, it's typical to see cover letters that spend a lot more time on the body paragraphs than the closing paragraph. But leaving readers on a strong final note is just as important as making a great first impression. It's recommended that you wrap the cover letter up by mentioning a strong benefit your project will bring to the company.

Next steps

The last critical piece of information you need to include is the call to action. What do you need them to do next? In this case, the next action you'll want them to take is to read the business proposal. Provide some encouraging words to move the client in that direction.

4 Tips for creating a cover letter

Now that you have the structure down, it's time to start writing it! We have some tips to elevate a cover letter so you can start closing deals.

Step 1: Kicking off the cover letter

A great cover letter starts by showing off your personality and the type of communication they can expect if they're going to work with you. Lean into your intuition and use your voice!

There's no reason to be super corporate here. Instead, show that you're a person who can be professional, but still enjoys the work you do. 

Your approach will be a bit different depending on if the business proposal is solicited or unsolicited:

  • Solicited proposal: If a client asked you to send a proposal, you can start by saying "As per our discussion..." before addressing their problem and your proposed solution.
  • Unsolicited proposal: The first sentence is crucial. Grab their attention immediately with an engaging statistic related to their problem and how you can help them.

It's important to hook your reader right up front! That means understanding who your audience is and the industry you represent will be critical to nailing a cover letter. For instance, if you're pitching a more traditional company, like one in finance, consider how they may expect communications as opposed to a start-up.

Typically you can get a feel of how a company communicates by viewing their website, content, and related information to get a feel for their tone and voice.

Find a balance between being true to your voice and communicating in a way that's comfortable to the prospective team.

Here are a few examples of the beginning of a cover letter.

Hi Prospective Client, 
Thanks for taking the time to review my proposal! I'm really excited about the ways we can work together to support [company].

____

Hello Mr./Mrs. prospective client, 
I'm pleased to present you with the request for proposal [proposal title]. In this proposal, you'll find goals and objectives, scope of work, pricing, [and any additional information you found relevant.

You can see the difference between these two tones. Consider when would be appropriate to use either.

writing an email

Step 2: Highlight what problem you'll help the company overcome

Within any proposal, you want to ensure that your client knows that you understand the problem that they're trying to solve. Include their goals and objectives of why you're entering this engagement.

Share the company's pain point in a way that's easy to digest. Leave this section to focus on the company's problem. Later, you can mention the solutions.

Here's a snippet of a type of pain point a client may be facing:

Right now you're creating a lot of excellent content and it's frustrating when it's not leading to the increase in traffic and conversions you're hoping for.

Step 3: Share how you'll work towards their goal

The next section of the cover letter will outline how you plan to approach their challenge. Now, remember, this isn't where you get into the nitty-gritty. This is just a high-level overview of your plan of attack. Specific details will be broken out in your proposal.

Here's an example of a short and efficient way of accomplishing this step.

Based on the data I've seen, I'm confident that we can make some major traction in increasing your organic traffic with your target audience with a few well-implemented strategies that I've outlined in the attached proposal. 

Step 4: End your cover letter with next steps

Once you've worked through the steps of a cover letter, the last piece that you include is the next steps. Sometimes your client will already have shared their process and timelines associated, but if they haven't this is a great opportunity to take initiative and show them that you're able to make their lives easier by outlining what's needed to move forward.

Below's an example of some ideal next steps. 

Once you've had a chance to review the proposal, please feel free to follow up with any questions. I'll be following up in a week to check in on the status and see if there are any additional ways to support your team. 

If you decide to move forward, we can start the engagement within a week of signing the contract.

signing the contract

Proposal cover letter samples

Below we've compiled a couple of different examples and templates of what you can use to create a template for your client today. 

Proposal cover letter sample #1

We'll kick things off by sharing full versions of the snippets we included above. This is for a proposal for SEO and content strategy to support clients looking to increase organic traffic.

Hi Prospective Client, 
Thanks for taking the time to review my proposal! I'm really excited about the ways we can work together to support [company].
Right now you're creating a lot of excellent content and it's frustrating that it's not leading to the increase of traffic and conversions you're hoping for.
Based on the data I've seen, I'm confident that we can make some major traction in increasing your organic traffic with your target audience by implementing a few strategies that I've outlined in the attached proposal.
Once you've had a chance to review the proposal, please feel free to follow up with any questions. I'll be following up in a week to check in on the status and see if there are any additional ways to support your team. 
If you decide to move forward, we can start the engagement within a week of signing the contract.
Most Sincerely, 
Consultant

Proposal cover letter sample #2

In this sample, your cover letter is approached with a more formal tone and is for a client who is looking for support in their product strategy.


Hello Ms. Thompson, 
I'm pleased to present you the request for Project Strategy Proposal. In this document, you'll find outlined the goals and objectives, the scope of work, pricing, and some case studies of relevant projects I've worked on. 
I know that Quest Products has been struggling with converting their traffic to their Saas platform and hitting their retention goals. 
After some analysis, you'll find within the proposal a scope that entails audience research, user testing, and analyzing data analytics that will all work towards the goal of boosting conversion rates and diagnosing any challenges. 
Once you've had the chance to review, please let me know if you have any initial questions or concerns. I'm happy to provide any additional information that would be useful. 
I'll follow up with you next week to check in and outline the next steps. 
Most sincerely, 
Consultant

You'll see that within each example we include four key components: intro, highlighting the problem, sharing your proposed solution, and providing the next steps. 

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Wrapping up

A cover letter gives you the chance to point out a problem with a company and propose yourself as the perfect solution. And though it can be time-consuming, the results that a winning cover letter can bring to your business are well worth it in the end.

But if you're looking for a faster way to write business proposals, you can speed up the process by using proposal software. Just choose the template you need, fill in your details, adjust the content to your liking, add your branding, and you can be finished in minutes. As you move forward with creating a cover letter, keep in mind the tips we've outlined above and you'll be sure to succeed!