Aug 24, 2023
How to Write a Consultancy Proposal
If you offer consultancy services, you’ll want to show potential clients that you can help them achieve their goals. Outlining a clear strategy is key to gaining their trust. However, if you’ve never written a consultancy proposal before, you probably don’t know where to start.
To help you out, we’ve put together a consulting template and step-by-step guide. By learning about the essential information to include in your proposal, you should be able to approach your clients with a solid action plan. By doing so, you can show them that you’re the right consultant for the job.
This article will show you how to write a consultancy proposal and summarize what an ideal example should cover. We’ve also included a downloadable template to help you get started.
What Is a Consultancy Proposal?
You’ll often need to approach clients with a proposal as a consultant or agency. For example, if you help businesses with their marketing strategies, you may need to draw up a road map that shows how you can help them reach their sales targets by a specific date.
This document should also outline the nature and scope of your project. You’ll want to show clients what you can do for them, how you will deliver on your promises, and when they should expect results.
Think of it as a pitch — it should provide an opportunity to prove that you’re the solution to your client’s problem. Whether they’re looking to refine their social media strategy or assess their current marketing campaigns, you’ll need to show them that you have the right skills and experience for the job.
Ideally, this document should be drawn up after the initial meeting with your client. Once you know their needs and goals, you’ll be in a better position to outline an effective plan.
You might appear pushy or pretentious if you cold-call a potential lead with a consultancy proposal. Since you have yet to speak with the client, they might think you’re not interested in their needs and can easily dismiss your email.
Therefore, it’s sensible to invite the client to a meeting before submitting your proposal, even if it’s just a quick video call.
Furthermore, this discussion should help you understand the client’s business operations and how you can help them meet their goals. This clarity may make it easier to draw up an effective plan.
What to Include in Your Consultancy Proposal
Before we look at how to create a consultant proposal, let’s briefly review what you’ll need to include in this document. This way, you’ll have all the information you need when writing your proposal.
At a minimum, you’ll want to cover the following:
- Your value proposition. This is the unique value that you can offer your client. You’ll want to be clear and specific so that the client knows exactly what to expect. For example, your value proposition might be, “I’ll create a marketing plan that can help you increase organic traffic by 30% by the end of the year.”
- Scope of the project. You’ll also want to outline the steps you will take to help the client reach their goal. This information will help you set clear expectations and avoid scope creep during the project.
- Timeline. For each actionable step, you’ll want to define a timeframe for delivering it. At this stage, you don’t need to have a fixed deadline. However, you’ll need to give clients an idea of when to expect the completion of specific tasks.
- Fees and payment terms. Listing your consulting fees to prevent any misunderstandings or disagreements over costs is vital. Additionally, tell the client how and when you’d like to get paid and if they’d need to pay a deposit at the start of the project.
We’ll look at these points in more detail in the next section. Consider what you can deliver and establish a fair fee for your services.
How to Write a Consultancy Proposal (In 7 Steps)
This tutorial will walk you through writing an effective consultant proposal. We shall assume you’ve already spoken with your client and discussed their needs and goals.
Step 1: Start with an Executive Summary
You want to start your consultancy proposal with a project summary. It should include the goals and challenges discussed in the meeting with your client and a brief description of how you plan to address them.
Try to aim for a one-page summary. You don’t need to cover every aspect of the project, just the most important and relevant information.
Also, we recommend using plain language. There’s no need to use jargon and complex words to impress the client. Overly-complicated wording can confuse or distract them.
Your client should be able to get the gist of the project before they dive into the details. Otherwise, they might get confused and overwhelmed by all the information in the document.
Also, this summary can serve as a quick reference guide. Clients can return to it after reading the entire document to ensure they understand everything.
Also, explain any technical phrases used in the consultancy proposal. These may include acronyms like search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC). That way, clients will know what you’re referring to when they come across these terms in the project outline.
Step 2: Talk About Your Experience and Skills
Next, you’ll want to provide information about your professional background and experience. In this part of the consultant proposal, you’ll need to tell the client why you’re the best person for the job.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to sound arrogant. Subtlety is key when talking about your expertise. While you might be tempted to list your skills and achievements, others may find it off-putting.
Even though this section is mainly about you, the focus should still be on the client and their needs. Therefore, you’ll want to show them how your background and experience in a particular area can help them achieve their business goals.
Step 3: Outline the Outcomes and Expectations
Earlier, we briefly discussed your value proposition. This is what you can offer the client. For example, you might help them tap into a new market and increase their sales by 50%.
If you offer web consultancy, your value proposition might be to boost their SEO ranking, reduce bounce rate, and increase conversions on their site. Therefore, your web development proposal will need to address these factors.
These value propositions should align with the client’s needs and goals. For instance, if they want to generate more sales from their online store, you’ll need the outcomes to reflect that target.
It’s important to be specific about the outcomes and expectations of the project. You’ll want to state the main objectives and how you will get there.
Let’s look at some examples of good value propositions:
- Increase traffic by 60% using SEO strategies and social media marketing.
- Boost engagement on the website by 20% by improving site speed and web accessibility.
- Grow the client base by increasing the number of subscribers to 40,000 by the end of the year.
It’s important to propose realistic deliverables. If the target is too high, you might be unable to deliver the expected results.
Note that you don’t need to flesh out the steps you intend to take to achieve a goal. You can do this in the next part of the consultancy proposal, where you’ll outline the project’s scope.
Step 4: Lay Out the Scope of the Project
This is the most important part of your project. In this section, you’ll show the client that you have a solid understanding of their goals and know how to achieve them.
Here, you’ll want to be specific about the tasks that you plan to perform. Otherwise, the client might expect you to work on things that weren’t agreed upon.
This part of the consulting proposal will also help prevent scope creep. This is when you change the project or deviate from the plan. It can throw you off track, and you might miss deadlines and targets.
Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that every project stage is clearly defined and covers all the tasks you’ll be working on.
You can list the project’s scope to clarify the information. For example, if you’re doing a web consultancy for a company, you may list the following tasks:
- Switch to a more powerful hosting service for faster loading times
- Check the website’s code for accessibility issues
- Identify plugins that could be hurting performance
Depending on the project you’re working on, specify the hours you’ll spend on each task. If you’re planning video check-ins with the client, you’ll also need to determine the number and duration of these meetings (e.g., one-hour calls weekly).
Step 5: Establish Your Timeline and Deadlines
Once you have the project scope laid out, you can set your timeline and deadlines. You’ll want to tell the client when you expect to start and finish the project. You should also set a timeframe for delivering the customer report. These deadlines help you make sure that you’re both on the same page.
If you’re working on a multi-stage project, you should also set deadlines for each task. Additionally, it’s a good idea to establish dates for meetings and any required visits.
Remember to be realistic when setting deadlines. If you think a particular task might take longer than others, it’s worth letting the client know in advance.
We recommend being honest about your capabilities. If you try to deliver everything within a short timeframe, you might end up with poor results. Then, you’re unlikely to secure repeat business from the client.
Step 6: Specify the Costs and Payment Terms
Next, you’ll need to list the costs of your services and specify your payment terms. If you’re just starting out, you may find it difficult to establish a fair price for your consulting. However, ensuring that you’ll be adequately compensated for your time and work is important.
When working out your pricing, you’ll need to consider the following factors:
- Hours spent working on each task
- Any premium software that you’ll need to use for the project, like malware scanners and SEO tools
- Travel costs for office visits and other meetings
Your consultancy proposal should include a breakdown of all these costs. This way, your client will know precisely what they’re paying for.
Additionally, you’ll want to outline any payment methods and due dates. For example, the client might need to pay a deposit at the start of the project. This payment can help cover the cost of any third-party tools or services you’ll need to use.
Then, you might charge a fee upon the completion of each task. It helps specify due dates for each payment so the client can transfer the money on time.
Also, a clear payment deadline can help ensure timely payments are received. By clearly laying out your payment structure and due dates, the client won’t have any excuses about being unaware of the process or the fees.
Step 7: List Any Other Terms and Conditions
Finally, you’ll want to list your terms and conditions. These may relate to payments, project delivery and deadlines, and other foreseeable issues.
Here are a few questions to consider when laying out your terms and conditions:
- Can the client request changes to the goals that were agreed upon?
- What happens if a client misses a payment deadline? Will you charge a fee or even fire the client?
- Will the client get a refund if they decide to discontinue the project?
- Can the client extend your consultancy service beyond the established timeframe?
- Who will be responsible for any unexpected delays during the project?
It’s important to note that a consultancy proposal is not the same thing as a contract. Once the client confirms that they want to employ your services, you’ll need to draft a legally-binding document with all your terms and conditions.
For now, you’ll just need to address any concerns or questions the client may have and ensure they’re aware of your conditions. This clarity can help prevent any disagreements about the delivery of the project.
If you offer consultancy services, you want to approach potential clients with a solid proposal. Demonstrating that you can help them achieve their goals will make customers more likely to employ your services.
To recap, here’s how to write an effective consultancy proposal:
- Start with a summary of the project.
- Talk about your experience and skills, and show the client how your professional background puts you in an excellent position to address their needs.
- Outline the outcomes and expectations of the project, being as specific as possible.
- Lay out the project’s scope by listing the tasks you plan to complete.
- Establish your timeline and deadline.
- Specify the costs and payment methods.
- List any other terms and conditions.
Remember that you can also download our consulting template or use proposal software to get started on the right foot. Good luck!