How Much Detail to Include in a Proposal For Consulting Services?

Proposal-Graphic

Here’s a consulting question I received as part of the “Ask Michael” series:

“Hi Michael, Firstly thanks for you and all your members…….its so helpful knowing that there is a place to hear from experts.

My question is: When putting together client proposals, what is the guide lines regarding level of detail for inclusion. I have read articles and see examples of proposal guidelines which are not too detailed however I am frequently asked to provide lots of detail so the client (especially small businesses) understand and know what exactly you are going to do which worries me as I in essence are I am laying all my cards on the table.

Thanks,

Jayne McIntosh”

Jane,

Your proposal shouldn’t do the selling for you. It’s merely the document that outlines everything you and the buyer have talked about in your meetings.

Here’s a winning consulting proposal template.

There should be nothing new, except your fee and a few other details in your proposal that the buyer hasn’t heard or seen from you before.

If the buyer is asking you for more detail, instead of putting it in the proposal, that’s a sign that you haven’t done a good enough job answering all of the buyer’s questions (whether they asked them or were thinking them).

So it’s time to go back, meet with them or get on the phone and answer their questions.

Then when they are confident you’ve answered their concerns…you’re ready to send them your proposal.

Most proposals, except for government bids and a few other situations, require nothing more than a 2-3 page proposal.