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Feb 1, 2022

Writing

How to write a proposal email

Want to learn how to write proposal emails? Our business proposal email samples and a proposal email template will help you to land that client, project, price change, or get your idea taken forward.

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Lawrie Jones

Writer

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Are you hesitant about how to write a business proposal email? Don't worry; you're not alone.

By the time you've read this article on how to write professional proposal emails, you know everything there's to know about sending sales, business partnerships, project, and price proposal emails to clients old and new.

We'll run you through a business proposal email format from subject lines to greetings and provide you with 10 business proposal email samples that will put the lesson into practice.

To top it off, we will introduce you to our proposal email template and show you how to write proposal emails with Flowrite, your new AI writing assistant, like this:

What is a proposal email?

In most cases, a proposal email is an official correspondence sent in the early-mid stages of the sales process. A formal proposal email is a significant step in the sales funnel, providing all the information a lead needs to choose whether to become a client or customer.

The basic sales funnel has four stages, including:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Decision
  4. Action

Proposal emails are typically actioned at stage 2 and provide the information a client needs to transition to stage 3.

An effective proposal email includes all the important information a client or customer needs. In addition, it summarises the main talking points of your offer, including supporting evidence, timeline, key terms, any conditions, and the all-important costs.

The bottom line is that a great proposal is essential for transforming a prospect into a customer.

Different types of proposal emails

Proposal emails sent to a potential client are known as solicited messages, which means they won't come as a surprise when they're delivered.

Proposal emails are critical to the sale process, but the same approach can also be used to communicate with people you don't have a relationship with. These are known as unsolicited proposals or cold emails and can include:

  • Presenting new services or solutions to a potential new client
  • Sharing ideas to your boss
  • Responding to opportunities such as grants

Both solicited and unsolicited emails should contain the same information and follow the same structure described below.

How to write a proposal email

“A proposal email is a summary of the discussions and dialogues that you've had with a potential customer and a written, explicit statement of the business arrangements you've discussed,” says author and business expert Geoffrey James.

He describes a business proposal email as an essential email that every salesperson must master, but how’s the best way to do it?

In his expert opinion, every successful proposal email shares the following 7-step structure:

  1. Statement of gratitude (one sentence)
  2. Problem definition and financial impact (one or two sentences)
  3. Desired outcome (one or two sentences)
  4. Proposed solution (two to five sentences)
  5. Proposed price (one sentence)
  6. Risk reduction (one or two sentences)
  7. Next step (one sentence)

Now, this may seem like a long-winded way to say what you want to, but it actually cuts out the irrelevant information and focuses effort and attention on what matters. Strip out the jargon, ditch the management speak and keep things simple is his advice, and we agree.

In our examples below, we show how you can use this structure flexibly, combining sentences where appropriate to cut out pointless prose that could confuse the message. You can cut out elements such as price, or risk reduction if they’re not relevant. Effective emails are personalized and professional, so shape your communication to make it as clear as possible. 

Someone who agrees is email expert Matthew Brown, who helps to clarify exactly what you’re doing: “While your sales proposal email is technically a "sales document," it's not where you do the selling.”

It’s also not a contract either, so avoid legal jargon or attempting to write in an overly formal way. 

All sound clear? Let’s show you how this works in practice by outlining the correct proposal email format.

Business proposal email format

The email format for sending a business proposal is simple and includes just five essential parts:

  • Subject line
  • Greeting
  • Opening line and body
  • Ending
  • Signature

It doesn't matter if you're emailing someone for the first time or the hundredth time; when sending a proposal email, stick to this format, and you won't go wrong.

You can use the format outlined here to create all types of professional emails, so learn it once, and it's a skill that will stick with you for life. Once mastered, you'll be creating great emails in minutes.

professional emails, so learn it once, and it's a skill that will stick with you for life. Once mastered, you'll be creating great emails in minutes.

Business proposal email subject lines

Your email subject line for a business proposal is perhaps the most essential part of your proposal, with 69% of email recipients judging the contents of every message by the subject line alone. Books have been written on writing effective subject lines, so we will only cover the basics of proposal email for informal and formal business proposals.

Subject line for a formal business proposal

Formal subject lines get straight to the point. They're all about explaining upfront what you're sending. So here are a few business proposal email subject line examples from the formal end of the spectrum.

  • Business proposal from <insert company>
  • 5 ways we can save you more money
  • I have a proposal for you
  • A new business proposal

Subject line for an informal business proposal

An informal subject line aims to grab attention in your message, creating just enough interest to get a click. Here are some examples of business proposal email subject lines that are informal:

  • Boost profits by partnering with our business
  • Are you happy with your current supplier?
  • Can we offer you a better deal on your <service>?
  • We can save you 50% on your costs…
  • I have a proposal for you…

How to start a business proposal email

When you decide how to start the proposal email, you should stop and think about the recipient and whether you are beginning to draft a formal business proposal or an informal one.

Email greetings for a formal business proposal

When you're writing to someone that you know, use a formal email greeting:

  • Dear <first name and surname>,

An excellent proposal is all about research, so hopefully, you'll have the name of the person you're messaging. 

If you don't, it's OK (but not ideal) to address them using their job title. Here's an example.

  • Dear Purchasing Manager,

Try to avoid using overly fussy greetings such as 'Dear Sir/Madam' and 'To whom it may concern. We also suggest not bothering with Mr, Mrs, or Ms either as these are outdated, too.

Email greetings for an informal business proposal

When writing to someone you know, a current client, customer, or colleague, then you can use a less formal approach if you want to.

  • Hi <First name>,

To learn more about the conventions and best practices regarding email greetings, read our article on how to start an email.

Email opening lines and body

Proposal emails are about informing, engaging, and inspiring someone with a great idea, concept, or product, so it's tempting to go into details but don't. 

Using James’ structure as a guide, we recommend your proposal emails follow this outline:

  • Statement of gratitude (one sentence)
  • Problem definition and financial impact (one or two sentences)
  • Desired outcome (one or two sentences)
  • Proposed solution (two to five sentences)
  • Proposed price (one sentence)
  • Risk reduction (one or two sentences)
  • Next step (one sentence) 

Getting the right tone of voice in your emails is critical. You'll want to appear confident about your proposal but avoid boasting or being too overconfident.

In some cases, such as when you know the person, a friendly approach can work. If you don't know the person, then a formal approach is more likely to get a response.

Ultimately, it's up to you how you want to present yourself in proposal emails. Before putting pen to paper (or finger to key), check out our email proposal examples below for some guidance and inspiration.

To help you find the best possible email opening phrases, we've compiled a list of 100 best email opening sentences.

How to end a proposal email

The approach you take to end a business proposal email depends on whether you are writing a formal or informal business proposal.

Email sign-offs for a formal business proposal

If you're writing a formal proposal email, it's advisable to use a formal email ending, such as:

  • "Yours sincerely" if you know the person's name; and 
  • "Yours faithfully" if you don't (or are writing to a group)

Email sign-offs informal business proposal

If you're happy to be less formal, then feel free to select a professional email ending from the list below. 

  • Sincerely
  • Kind regards
  • Regards
  • With best wishes
  • I look forward to hearing from you

We've tackled the conventions and complexities of how to end an email in a previous article, so be sure to check it out if you need more information.

Professional email signature

A professional email signature for your proposal contains everything the recipient needs to know about you and how to contact you, including:

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Company (if relevant)
  • Email address
  • Phone number

You can add more detail, such as social media account links, a logo, and product details if it's relevant. For example, if you're in a profession with recognized qualifications (such as law or accountancy), then include your qualifications if you want to.

10 proposal email samples

We've provided the basics of how to write professional proposal emails; now, it's time to put it into practice. Here you can find 10 proposal email samples that tackle slightly different types of proposals. These examples demonstrate all the essential elements you need to include, but always remember to personalize your pr

1. Business proposal email sample

This standards business proposal email provides a short and snappy template to follow, using James' outline.

Subject line: Business proposal from (company name)
Dear Rachel Rhohes,

My name is Robert Smith, and I'm contacting you from (company name). Thanks for taking the time to chat with me earlier this week, here's my business proposal.

At (company name), we partner with leading businesses such as yours, helping them improve the services they offer and save money. By signing up to work with us, we can streamline the service you receive, making them quicker and more efficient.

Working together, we estimate we can save you up to 50% on your annual fees, and all for just (insert price).

Please review my proposal and come back to me with any questions. The next step is to formalize our agreement and sign a contract. We're ready when you are.

Yours Sincerely,

Robert Smith

2. Sample email for proposal submission

Sometimes you'll want to email your boss with a proposal. While you can afford to be a little less formal, the principle is still the same, so stick to the script.

Subject line: I enclose our proposal
Dear Rachel Rhohes,

My name is Robert Smith, and I'm contacting you from (company name). Thanks for allowing us to submit a proposal for this exciting opportunity.

We understand you seek to appoint a new supplier and cut costs on your current contract, and we can help. In our proposal, you will find details of how we can streamline your service, saving you money while delivering the same exceptional service levels. Within the proposal, you will find a breakdown of all contract fees. We've worked hard to unlock efficiencies and deliver everything you've asked for within the cost envelope.

Please review my proposal and come back to me if you have any questions.

Yours Sincerely,

Robert Smith

3. Proposal email to your boss

Sometimes you'll want to email your boss with a proposal or idea. While you can afford to be a little less formal, the principle is still the same, so stick to the script.  This is a sample of how how to propose an idea to your boss via email.

Subject line: Proposal for office cost-savings
Dear David,

It was great to chat about my ideas for saving the department money. I understand that the company is under pressure to be more efficient, and I'm excited to help us achieve this.

I propose that we (insert your proposal). I am confident that this will help to save up to 50% in ongoing costs, securing our department's financial position for the future.

I am happy to answer any questions about the proposal and provide further details and clarification if required.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,

Robert Smith

4. Proposal email sample to an existing client

When messaging an existing client, you already have a relationship to dispense with some formalities. In this example of a proposal email to a client, we still stick to the format but introduce some elements of personality and focus on shared outcomes.

Subject line: Our proposal to save you money
Hi Ryan,

It was great to chat about your new project and to discuss how we can work together. I've processed our conversations and created the proposal here. It's clear that you're searching for a partner that understands you, your business, and your needs and I believe that's us.

Our proposed solution is (insert details) We're able to deliver this entire package of support for (price), saving you around 50% on what you're currently paying.

You may be worried about swapping suppliers at this time but don't. We're experts at integrating with every business we work with.

Would you like to arrange a call or meeting to explain more about our proposal?

Best wishes,

Robert Smith

5. Sales partnership proposal email

A sales partnership is a collaboration that should bring you both profit, so our example of how to draft a sales partnership focuses on that. Here's how to draft a business proposal email that brings mutual benefit.

Subject line: Proposal for our new sales partnership
Hi Rachel Rhodes,

It was great to chat about your business and objectives for this coming financial year. I'm excited about our potential partnership.

We love your website and believe our products would be a great fit for your customers. Our partners benefit from access to exclusive products at the best prices. It's helping them to increase profit.

(Insert details of the proposal).

We're ready and waiting to kick off our sales partnership. If you want to go ahead, please email me back as soon as possible to arrange a call or meeting with our MD to finalize the details.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Smith

6. Business partnership proposal email sample 

In this example of how to send a proposal email to a client, we describe how to write an email proposing an idea that can benefit you both. This business partnership proposal focuses on the productivity benefits and profit you'll both enjoy.

Subject line: Here are details about our proposed new partnership
Dear Rachel Rhodes,

Thanks for sharing details of your new project and approaching us as a potential partner. It was fascinating to learn about the project, and I'm confident we're the right fit.

The new project offers incredible potential for us to work together. Still, we need to act quickly to access the opportunity, so I've provided details of our proposal here.

(Insert proposal details).

If you want to work with us, please get in touch with me as soon as possible, and we can discuss the details and formalize our partnership.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Smith

7. Proposal email to offer services 

Businesspeople are busy, so we've stripped back this proposal email to offer services to the essential information they need.

Subject line: Response to your request for new suppliers: our proposal
Hi Rachel Rhodes,

I know your time is precious, so I'm keeping this short.

My name is Robert Smith, and I'm contacting you from (company name). We help businesses like yours save money through streamlining services.

I've attached some information about our services and prices, to illustrate just how much we can save you. If you want to discuss this further, respond to this email, and let's arrange a meeting.

Sincerely,

Robert Smith

8. Price proposal email sample

In business, it's the price that matters, so we've focused on cost savings in this price proposal email sample.

Subject line: Our proposal to cut costs
Hi Rachel Rhodes,

Thanks for discussing your business requirements with me. I know that cutting costs is your biggest concern, and I'm pleased to say that we can help you.

We propose that (insert information). We've calculated that we can save you up to 50% on the price you pay your current supplier.

You may be worried about how we can be so cheap, but you should be. We have a history of working with businesses like yours and are happy to share references and case studies.

Please review our proposal and contact me if you have any questions or require additional information.

I look forward to hearing from you about the next steps and potentially working together in the future.

Thank you,

Robert Smith

9. Project proposal email

Collaborating on a project involves establishing a partnership. In this example of how to write a project proposal email, we aim to establish a connection and create interest, and then request a meeting to discuss details further.

Subject line: Project proposal from (company name)
Hi Rachel,

I hope you've been well!

We've been working with you for several years now and value our partnership. We're always looking to help you save money and have developed a new proposal that outlines a new way to work together that could save you money.

(Insert proposal).

I don't want to go into too many details through email, but I hope the basic information demonstrates the positive impact this partnership could have on our businesses.

I would love to arrange a call to go through it in more detail after you've reviewed the information here. Please let me know when you're free.

Best,

Robert Smith

10. Email to propose an idea

Sometimes you won't have developed a project plan, but you may have an idea you want to run past a potential partner, boss, client, or customer. In this sample of how to propose an idea through an email, we keep it brief and aim to kickstart a conversation.

Subject line: Can we chat about a new idea?
Dear Rachel,

I've got a great new idea that I'd love to chat with you about it. If it works, it could save us money and improve the service we offer customers.

(Insert the proposed idea).

If you're interested in learning more, respond to this email, and we can arrange a quick call.

Sincerely,

Robert Smith

Proposal email template by Flowrite

Flowrite is an AI writing tool that turns your instructions into ready-to-send emails and messages. Our browser extension and web app take care of the email format, capitalization, grammar, spelling, punctuation – you name it.

You can focus on the message, and Flowrite will handle the delivery. We dare to claim that it's the fastest way to improve your business communications.

Our AI template collection features dozens of email templates to help you with proposal emails. To grasp how easy and fast it's to write a business proposal email with Flowrite, check out the example below.

Conclusion

Still hesitant about how to send a proposal via email? Didn't think so. If you found this blog post about how to write proposal emails helpful, we suggest that you bookmark it to access our business proposal email samples the next time you write one.

In case you feel that our business proposal email format lessons could benefit your team, why won't you share this article with them?

Lastly, if you ever need help on how to write professional proposal emails, Flowrite and our business proposal email template are ready to help.

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