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How Long Should Your Proposals Be?
How Long Should Your Proposals Be?
How Long Should Your Proposals Be?
How Long Should Your Proposals Be?
How Long Should Your Proposals Be?
How Long Should Your Proposals Be?

How Long Should Your Proposals Be?

How long is too long, and how short is not short?

If these are the questions you are dealing to find answers to, then this article will help you decide the length of your proposals.

How long should proposals be? The answer depends on what you’re selling, the value of it, and who you’re selling to.

To truly evaluate how long your business proposals should be, you must take into account multiple factors. And to work around your sales proposals, you must focus more on things that should be left out than focussing on the length of the proposal.

What should your proposals have?

First, we’ll discuss the details your proposal must have, and then we can analyze scenarios to shorten or leave out details.

  1. Introduction
  2. Service description
  3. Process and timescales
  4. Case study
  5. Investment
  6. Guarantee
  7. Next steps
  8. Terms and conditions

All the above is mandatory information for a sales proposal, but there are three deciding factors which determine what should be cut down from this list.

  1. What you’re selling
  2. The value
  3. Who you’re selling to

If you’re using a proposal software like Yakkadraft, you’ll be able to find many pre-defined templates for your industry that covers all essential proposal sections. You also get all the text written that you just need to tweak to your liking.

1. What you’re selling

If you’re selling technical services, then regardless of anything you must explain or provide information to your prospects in detail, and this detail is going to be of a certain length. You must explain what they are getting out from your services, the expected outcomes, etc.

Suppose you are writing about a service that’s off the shelf, you don’t need to write a page long description about the service. A short paragraph with a catchy image might just do the talking about the service.

It’s all about what you’re selling. While some services need to be described in a lengthy format, there are the rest which can be made shorter.

What can you do to shorten your proposal?

The length of the service description can vary

The process and timescales will vary

Investments and guarantee can also vary

2. The value

If you’re selling something cheap or of low value, a proposal that’s lengthy might just look overkill. Suppose you’re providing a service like software installation, a three-page proposal description would just be overboard. Similarly, a one-page description about a custom marketing package isn’t right.

Determining the length of your proposal with respect to it’s value can be an art to learn, but it's not difficult.

What can you do to shorten your proposal?

Your service description can be as little as few lines

You could lose the guarantee page or include it under investments page

You don’t need to explain the process if the project is of low budget, and timescales can be explained in one or two sentences

No doubt each page is important, but there are three major variables that determine the content of a proposal, the number of words in each page, the amount of time needed to read the content, and the average amount of time spent on each of these pages. As per research, most of the prospects spend their time on the introduction page (34.6%) and investment page (27.1%).

3. Who you’re selling to

If you’re selling to someone who is a new prospect, then you might want to explain in detail to impress them and to give them proper information about your services. Information like case studies, guarantees, etc are vital details to provide when the prospect is uncertain about your services and what you say/promise.

However, if it’s a client who you have for years, then a quick note about your offerings will work wonders. You don't have to include testimonials, or case studies. They know your business and rely on your services - that's why they have come back to you for their future problems looking for solutions.  

What can you do to shorten your proposal?

You don’t need to explain the process in detail to an existing prospect

Your service description can be trimmed wherever possible

Your case studies, testimonials, or social proof can also be trimmed

You don’t need a one page guarantee for your existing prospects

It’s not always about the length of your proposal

When it comes to the length of a proposal, it’s a subjective topic. If you’re sending the proposals in a PDF format, then the size of the document matters. A file size of 54mb is an unimaginable figure for the reader.

When you use a proposal software like Yakkadraft, you don’t measure the file size but rather the sections. The content is easily scrolled through without an indication of the length of the page or the proposal, thus making it easier for your readers to read important sections, and avoid the ones they are not a fan of.

There are a number of factors that determine the acceptance of a proposal, and one factor is the length of the proposal. Turns out that a proposal with only 6 pages converts more and faster.

It looks hectic if the proposal is lengthier than the term of contract. It frustrates the readers and consumes their time on reading repetitive information. Similarly, a proposal that’s very short without mentioning important information is a disadvantage.

Therefore, it’s really important that the proposal is of the correct length for the job you’re pitching in for. The proposal must always be structured and well defined. If you provide a proposal that’s out of structure, you may again frustrate the reader, irrespective of the length of your proposal.

Implement the ideas mentioned in this blog for your future proposals and you will see the length of your proposal improving, thus grabbing reader’s attention. Sometimes it’s more about the content than the length, and same is the case with your sales proposals.

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