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Writing Cover Letters for Business Proposals

Proposal Design & Layout

Before attempting to write cover letters for business proposals it is key that you under stand the ‘science’ behind a good proposal letter – and how it should relate to your business proposal.

If you haven’t already done so I’d strongly recommend you read the module entitled The  importance of the business proposal cover letter’ – this module explains the key relationship between your executive summary and your proposal letter.

Then come back here and read this module.

Producing a cover letter from your proposal

Given what you’ve seen of the relationship between the cover letter and the Executive Summary it is logical that the your cover letters for business proposals will simply be vastly stripped down versions of your Executive Summaries – presenting only the really key points you’d like to make under each of the headings of the Requirements-Solution-Benefits-Costs-Proof ‘ Winning proposal model.

With proposal cover letters I strongly suggest that you stay away from ’costs’ and ‘proof’ content and focus exclusively on the requirement, solution and benefit aspects of your proposal.

However, I repeat my earlier advice when you were constructing your Executive Summary – if your costs give you such an extraordinary advantage over all other likely proposers that they could make the difference between winning and losing – then by all means include them in your cover letter. Use your judgment – but if in doubt leave them out.

To begin constructing your cover letter think:

“…if I got an opportunity to meet the prime decision maker on this project and had time enough to make just one or two brief points on the requirement, solution and benefits aspects of my proposal what would I say?”

This will tell you what you should draw from your Executive Summary to form your proposal cover letter.

Carefully distil the messages in your proposal

Each of the main sections of your executive summary should make an appearance in your cover letters for business proposals – but in a greatly distilled form.

‘Distilled’ means that each of those sections is stripped back to their absolute essence. So when you’re trimming your executive summary be sure that you leave the genuinely core points – be careful that your best material does not end up on the ‘cutting room floor’.

There is a real science to writing proposal cover letters. Think about it: your proposal distils the wealth of material in your Appendices down to the key sections of your proposal; your Executive Summary in turn distils those sections into a more purified form of the messages presented in the main proposal sections.

Finally, well drafted proposal cover letters distil the executives summaries down to the absolute essence of their business proposals. Like a fine perfume: the cover letter should be purest possible essence of why the prospect should select your solution over all others.

Most cover letters for business proposal are written by people who do not understand this. Now that you do you are yet another step ahead of your competition.

Click here to see a sample business proposal letter and how it was constructed using this thinking.