Creating Winning Proposals

Creating Winning Proposals

By Ryan O'Neil

Whitney is the founder and CEO of a catering and party-making company in Boise, Idaho. She believes in the unique power of food to communicate love and connect people. It is her greatest privilege to turn her clients’ celebrations with family and friends into unforgettable memories. The Curate team created this post from the presentation Whitney gave during our recent webinar, Back to Basics, and is the first in a series of three posts on getting Back to Basics!


First Impressions Matter: Your Chance to WOW!

Your proposal is your first chance to make a bold statement to your prospective clients. Show them what working with you looks like and what sets you apart from other companies! Many clients will print your proposal and refer to it often (so be sure to make sure your proposals are gorgeous both digitally and when printed).

Let’s assume your client is as amazing as you are. You’ve had a great first contact, whether that’s a phone call or in-person consultation and now you get to wow them with a stunning proposal that will completely set you apart from your competitors. Florists, caterers, event planners – all are about image and aesthetics. Does your proposal set the tone, much like an invitation to a party, that communicates your client’s vision and your core values?

Depending on your industry and audience, the needs of your proposal may change. A corporate luncheon for an engineering firm is a very different event from a high-budget social event with lots of photographers in attendance. Know your audience and speak their language. Does your client want a custom, one-off experience or merely a list with options and an address to send the check?

A well-designed proposal will attract your ideal client, give them the information they need, and set you apart from the crowd.

Perfecting the Delivery: Turnaround Time

You just had a great meeting, the client is excited, you’re excited, and then…nothing…

What happens when several days go by? The client becomes less and less excited. Maybe they are having meetings with several companies, shopping their event around? And they don’t have a proposal from you to refer to? The meeting and the details become blurry and the excitement fades. Be sure to deliver your proposal as soon as you can. On our webinar, most typically provide proposals to their clients within a few days.

A few ideas to improve your proposal process:

  • Use tools and templates to speed up the work
  • Automate responses with emails, receipts, and payment deadlines
  • Provide a clear path for follow-up and booking

Our goal is to get the proposal out within 48 hours of speaking with the client - either over the phone or after an in-person consultation. When they hear from us first, we have a better chance of booking the job!


While being busy may seem like a good way to show how desirable we are, timely proposals and responses show how we respect each INDIVIDUAL client.


Bringing their Dream Event to Life: The Details

Perfect proposals are both attractive and functional. Including inspiration pictures, floral designs, and ideas that match their ideal event is a key part of building a gorgeous proposal but the layout and details of the proposal are important as well. Be sure to:

  • Brand the proposal clearly with your company name and contact information
  • Separate the proposal with clear headings so information is easy to locate
  • Clearly layout exactly what’s included so there is no room for confusion
  • Price should also be clearly and simply explained so the client can easily see the total cost of your plan to recreate their dream event. Be sure to list out the line items included in the proposal:
    • Food
    • Beverages
    • Delivery
    • Labor
    • Taxes
    • Deposit

A proposal is only as good as the information it contains. Good proposals are easy to understand and leave your clients with no questions about exactly what is included.


A Few Final Thoughts

Establishing a process for your proposals is an excellent way to ensure that you include every detail in every proposal. While copying and then editing previous proposals seems like a great time-saver, making sure you always include all the sections and details you need can become a problem if the proposal you copy from omits key pieces of information, was for a smaller event, or had different significantly different requirements.

It’s also helpful to look at your sales process from your client’s perspective. Some clients will provide candid feedback and give you the information you need to improve your own processes, ensuring that you continue to be successful.


Ready to talk to Curate about how we can help you create winning proposals? Let us show you a demo and get you started!



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