What to include in your corporate proposal

A lot of coaches are unclear about what they should include in their proposal for corporate prospects.

As a result, they spend a lot of time (and worry) on writing a document that ends up not delivering the desired result to get a quick “yes” to working with them!

And this issue only gets worse if the potential contract is for one or multiple 5-figures! 😔

Proposals that have a higher than average chance of converting (i.e. over 50%, mine convert approx. 82%) all contain seven must-have components and in this post, I will set out exactly the four most vital ones and what to include in each.

(the other ones are useful but more self-explanatory if I included them too this post would be 4 pages long).

Who does my proposal method apply to?

👉 First though, I should point out, my method works for coaches, consultants, trainers, and expert professionals who work with corporates to improve things like teamwork, productivity, leadership, collaboration, communication or similar topics.

While my proposal method will probably work additionally for those offering technical services such as marketing, design, or software support, those proposals usually also include a technical section which is out of scope for this article.

Let’s dive into the four core elements:

Section One: Overview 

✅The first section in my proposal method is the overview section.

Some people recommend having a summary* of the whole proposal here, but there is a danger that your prospect immediately forms their opinion to say yes or no based on that summary which does not set out the full case for your proposal.

(*This is different for very long proposals, aka 10+ pages, highly technical proposals which are not covered here).

That is why my method uses an overview section that builds a logical case for working with you.

In this part, you should state the background of your proposal in one sentence (i.e. why your prospect needs your help), what their challenge is and what result they want from working with you.

It is important here to describe their challenge in the way that THEY see it – not what you *think* it is. 😉

The easiest way to do that is to use some of their own words and phrases that you learned during your conversations with them.

In the overview section, you also start to quantify how their challenge impacts them and their business and what resolving the challenge will mean for them.

Applying this to real life: Coaches

Let me give you an example; if you are a coach that helps the team communicate better, you will most likely help them become more productive and thus be able to meet deadlines more easily.

(You should have this information from your discovery/strategy call – if you are unclear how to get this information please comment below and I will link to a post on this).

So you could say something like: “Currently, your team struggles to reliably meet monthly deadlines, which causes stress for your team and means you cannot effectively focus on strategic priorities”.

Resolving the underlying communications issues has the potential to reduce this stress, remove the need for long working hours and enable you to make progress towards bigger goals. (Of course, the more specific you can be here, the better!)

Section Two: Objectives

✅ The next part is called the objectives section and it is all about translating the client’s requests into a series of outcomes from your work.

Here you outline the results they can expect from working with you.

By the way, this is not the place for features, aka how many sessions, what tools you use, etc.

Also, make sure to not use commodity phrases like “team-building”, “executive coaching” or “improved collaboration” and instead link this section clearly to the results they want to see.

For example, if their staff is struggling with new remote working arrangements, you might say things like:

“Our work is designed to help your new remote staff to..”

– Reduce stress when working from home

– Ensure a healthy work/life balance

– Prevent feelings of burnout while employees are balancing multiple responsibilities of work, taking on new responsibilities, caring for others and other challenges.

🔥A neat trick that I use and that my clients always comment on is to give them an idea of the short-term measures of success that I will use to assess how well things are going – even before the full project is completed.🔥

For example, if I run a series of workshops to help new remote working leaders, I would say:

“We will track the impact of the program using these short-term measures of success”:

– % of active participation by the leadership team in the online sessions

– Feedback following each session

– Employee feedback after 3 weeks on the leaders’ communication effectiveness

People love it because it shows that I have a structured and practical approach to the work I deliver and that they will know that it’s on track even before the work is completed.

Showing your prospect that you can help them and what is possible as a result of working with you is essential but because prospects are busy, you also need to spell the value of your work out for them.

Don’t let them guess it – connect the dots for them! This is what you do in the opportunity section.

Section Three: Opportunity 

This goes beyond things like “raising awareness”, “creating clarity”, “sharing best practices” and similar notions.

Instead, in this section, you link the outcomes of your work (as described above) to specific, tangible results, often financial results.

A lot of people worry about making promises for results here but actually, you are not giving guarantees.

It is impossible to guarantee your clients certain results – there are too many external factors but you can explain to them what type of quantified results they should be able to achieve.

If you have case studies, you might use them as an example.

Alternatively, you can use results from research or famous case studies to show what is possible. (Obviously, you never pretend that you have created those results, but you can showcase them by saying “research has found the organizations who do XYZ tend to get ABC results in this area”).

Personally, I generally use phrases like this:

“Clients we have worked with have seen these kinds of benefits”:

– Saving management time with more effective leadership approaches in a B2B business of $350k

– Increased collaboration across teams leading to a 30% increase in sales closed

– Positive employee feedback improved by 13 percentage points

This highlights the opportunity without making a hard promise as actual results will depend on too many factors that are beyond your sphere of influence.

(If you want to know more about how to quantify results, see this article below): http://impactfulnesslab.com/how-much-should-i-charge-for-my-work/

Final Section: Recommending Solutions

✅ The final vital section in your proposal is about your recommendations for how you can work with your client.

This is the point where you outline at least 2 options (ideally 3) of what you believe is the best way for your client to resolve their issue or achieve their goals (or both).

Firstly – always make sure to provide more than one option because you want your client to move their mental considerations from “should we work with her or not” to “which of these options is the best one for us?”.

Because you want them to think the latter, it is important to make sure that the options you provide are easily comparable. That means they need to have some similar elements.

A simple example of comparable options could be:

– Option 1 is 5 workshops & direct access to you in between

– Options 2 is 3 workshops with limited access to you in between 

– Option 3 is one workshop and no further access.

The second point to watch when recommending a solution is to make sure you link each part of your recommendation to their goals.

What that means is that if e.g. you offer 3 workshops on say stress reduction, you outline how these help them get closer to the outcomes they want (as you described in the section on objectives) by saying something like:

“This option includes 3 workshops that build on each other where we first establish what are the specific stress triggers for the team, then investigate what options for stress reduction are right for them and finally create a sustainable action plan for minimizing stress based on individual employee circumstances. Taking this modular approach is important to achieve long-lasting improvements”.

🎯Ensuring you cover these four core components in your proposal will have two benefits:🎯

– You should be able to complete your proposal in a shorter time (my students tell me they take 50% less time than before) because you have a clear and logical structure.

– You should also see a significant uplift in the acceptance rate of your proposal (and most likely a faster response rate) because you are building a logical case for working with you that is highly tailored to the results that your client needs instead of rambling on about what you do (the mistake made by many as a proposal writer)

What I can offer you

📌In my 1:1 intensive coaching program, I go even deeper with my students on what makes a perfect proposal, including things such as addressing buyer psychology and corporate decision-making dynamics so that your proposals should convert about 80% of the time. 

📌This is after I help you focus on the right niche that you are excited about working with, support you with your marketing message so that you attract only those prospects who are right for you and show you how to find prospects that are ready to buy. I will even teach you how to have simple but effective sales conversations that don’t ever feel icky.

The approach I teach you has helped me land multiple 5-figure clients who come back for my services year after year, win new business in just a few weeks and charge over $20k for 1.5 days of work.

What is more, my students have been able to land their very first corporate clients, sometimes in as little as 4 days, and have been able to charge $15k for just 3x90min coaching.

As this is an end-to-end program that allows you to earn $100k+/year from 5-8 corporate clients in perpetuity, I have priced the investment for the program in the upper 4 figures.

📌I have a very simple process for those who are interested: just DM me and I’ll ask you a few quick questions to assess whether you’re a good fit to get results (no pressure to get on a hyped-up sales call).

If my approach is likely to work for you, we can get started at a time that suits you right away.

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Miriam Gilbert, founder of Impactfulness Lab, smiling

About Me

With more than 20years experience as a corporate decision-maker and CFO, 8+years running my own 6-figure consultancy I KNOW exactly what goes on in corporate mindsets – and how to sneak into their brain, charm their mind and get them to throw their budget at you.

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