Do you need to write a proposal to promote your financial services business to a prospective client? It doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. The goals for any business proposal are: introduce yourself, highlight your services and/or products, describe the costs, and convince the client that you are the right choice for the job or you are worthy of entrusting with their finances. To speed up the proposal writing process, you can use pre-designed templates and get ideas from sample proposals.
Whether you are describing an accounting, payroll, insurance or broker service, opening a franchise or even asking for funding to start up or expand your business, the proposal structure will be similar. Here’s the basic structure to follow: introduce yourself, then summarize the prospective client’s needs, describe your services and costs, and finally, provide information about your organization, your credentials, and your capabilities.
For a financial services business, you will also need to include some detailed information about your services or products that are of interest to the specific client. For example, an accounting firm might need to include a range of options based on the size of the client’s business (services for a one-person firm will differ from services for a 10-person firm if you are also doing things like payroll services). An insurance broker might need to explain different kinds of policies for a wide variety of situations.
Always keep in mind that the purpose of a proposal is to persuade your potential clients to give you their business or manage their hard-earned money. You must prove that you can deliver the products or services they need. A simple price list can never substitute for a real proposal.
Proposals should be targeted to a specific client. This means you need to gather information about your client so that you can present a proposal tailored to that individual client’s needs. It’s never a good idea to send all prospective clients the same sales letter. Clients are much more likely to accept a proposal tailored just for them.
So, let’s get back to the order described above. Start your proposal with a Cover Letter and a Title Page. The Cover Letter should deliver a brief personal introduction and contain your company contact information. The Title Page is just what it sounds like: the name of your specific proposal (for example, “Accounting and Payroll Services,” “Prepare for Financial Freedom,” “Insurance Policy Options for Westbridge, LLC.,” or “Refinancing Your Mortgage”).
After the introduction section, add topics that describe the needs of your client. If you are presenting a proposal for a detailed suite of services, you may need to write a summary to precede the detail pages. In a proposal for a corporate client, this is normally called an Executive Summary. For a less formal but still complex proposal, it’s more often called a Client Summary. In this summary and the following detail pages, you should demonstrate your understanding of the client’s needs, goals, and desires, as well as discussing any disclaimers or risks that need to be disclosed. This section should be all about the client.
Next is your chance to advertise yourself. Follow your introduction section and the client section with pages that describe what you are offering. These pages might have general headings like Services Provided, Policies, Benefits, Services Cost Summary, and Product Cost Summary as well as more specific pages that detail the products and/or services you can provide and explain the associated costs.
Your specific business will determine the specialized topics and pages you need to include in your proposal.
An accounting and payroll service might need to include pages with titles like Specialization (to highlight a specific niche you excel in), Services Provided, Accounting, Reporting, Taxes, Project Management, Administration, Auditing, Options, Cost Summary, Policies, Billing, as well as Contract and Terms pages.
An insurance broker may include topics such as Needs Analysis, Client Background, Insurance, Coverage, Policies, Risk Analysis, Recommendations, Comparison Chart, and Options, in addition to the standard services topics. Since proposals in some areas may be binding with the contract, make sure any limitations, coverage exclusions and time limits are covered in your disclaimers, and consult your local attorney to ensure your proposals and contracts conform to local laws.
A finance company may include topics such as Financing, Repayment Plan, Options, Consolidation, Collateral and Guarantees, Payment Options, Payment Schedule and so on.
A company selling investment or brokerage services will need to include information not only about their products and services but in these times, such a company should provide impeccable credentials as well. Consider adding information about your Services Provided, Products, Policies, Disclaimers, Risk Analysis, Risk Management, Industry Trends, Recommendations, Return on Investment, Commissions, Assets, Clients Served, References, Experience, Qualifications, Reputation, Customer Service, Company History, and so on.
If you’re asking for funding to start a financial services business (anything from a small accounting firm to an insurance franchise), you’ll want to add pages such as a Competitive Analysis, Industry Trends, Market and Audience, Marketing Plan, Insurance, Liability, Time Line, Funding Request, Services Provided, Products, Company Operations, Balance Sheet, Income Projection, Sources of Funds, Uses of Funds, Personnel, Legal Structure and any other topics required by the lender.
In your last proposal section, provide your company details, including pages such as Company History or About Us, Qualifications, Certifications, Memberships, Testimonials, Our Clients, or References. Your goal in this section is to convince the prospective client that you can be trusted to deliver the goods and/or services they need and want and responsibly manage their money.
Those are the basic steps for organizing and writing the proposal. But you’re not quite finished yet. After you have all the information down on the pages, focus on ensuring that your proposal is visually appealing. Incorporate your company logo, use colored page borders, and/or select interesting fonts and custom bullets to add color and flair. Just be sure to match your company style when making these selections.
To finalize your proposal, it’s essential to proofread and spell-check every page. It’s always a good idea to get someone other than the proposal writer to do a final proof, because it’s very common to overlook mistakes in your own work.
When the final touches have been completed, print it or save it as a PDF file, and then deliver it to the client. The delivery method you should use will depend on your relationship with your potential client. While it’s common to email PDF files to clients, a nicely printed, personally signed, and hand-delivered proposal may make more of an impression and demonstrate that you’re willing to make an extra effort for the client.
So, to sum up, a financial services proposal can vary widely in content depending on the business and the size and needs of the client. Each company’s proposal contents will need to be a bit different. But all these proposals will have a similar format and follow a similar structure.
If you’d like to get a jump start using pre-designed templates with simple instructions and extensive suggestions for content, you can use Proposal Pack, which includes all of the material mentioned above. It also includes samples of completed financial services proposals that will give you great ideas and help you easily create your own successful proposal.