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Proposal Close-Out: Definition, Development & Example

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

A proposal without a close-out is a missed opportunity. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the close-out, why it's important, and how to craft a process for building a closing that will help you earn business.

Sealing the Deal

When you bought your last car, did it go something like this?

  • Scoped out the car lot,
  • Found a few cars of interest,
  • Test drove your top two or three choices,
  • Narrowed it down to your top choice,
  • Drove off in your car.

What's missing from this picture? The interaction with the salesperson, of course! Part of their job is to assist you with choosing a car and guiding you through the test drive. From the business's perspective, the most important portion of the salesperson's job is making the final pitch and closing the deal. Otherwise, the sale is lost and you're likely to go somewhere else.

Like closing a sale, a proposal close-out focuses on the next steps a customer needs to take. Let's learn more about proposal close-outs and why they're so critical to the overall proposal process.

What is a Proposal Close-Out?

A proposal close-out is simply the portion of your business proposal where you summarize the top points of your offer, and finish by suggesting that your customer complete a specific call-to-action. A call-to-action is another way of saying there's a specific step you want your customer to take. In the case of a proposal, that could be signing up for the terms of your offer, choosing a particular option, or agreeing to a final meeting to nail down the details of your proposal.

The close-out is an important piece of the proposal because it's the last thing your readers will see. You want to leave them with a positive impression of your business and your ability to handle their needs, and entice them to act on what you've proposed. The purpose of a close-out is to solidify your position and earn the business.

Crafting a Close-Out

Crafting a close-out for your proposal that will help seal the deal is an important point in writing the contract itself. If you present a great opening paragraph and offer but fizzle out when it comes time to make the final pitch, the result may not be what you hoped for. Leaving the reader convinced of your capabilities and ready to partner with you in business can help ensure you get the contract.

Here are some simplified steps to ensure your proposal close-out is everything it needs to be.

1. Craft a summary of your main proposal concepts and identify the benefits to the client. Keep it brief, but identify the problem and remind the reader of how you can fix it. If there are unique components that set you apart, be certain to mention them. The close-out should be the section where you drive home the reason you should be selected for this work.

Example: Here are ways we can enhance your business and increase your visibility, while keeping your costs low:

  • We provide around-the-clock social media monitoring as a free feature of the plan we've built.
  • Our SEO optimization plan will increase your website visibility up to 75 percent.
  • We make use of in-house graphic designers to build new brochures and marketing collateral at a rate 20 percent below industry average.

2. Make the call-to-action clear and concise. The goal of a proposal is to get your reader to take action. How can they take action if they don't know what to expect next? A good call-to-action might be suggesting a day and time for lunch, setting up a visit to your office or arranging a meeting to finalize the contract.

Example: Joe, I took the liberty of securing a lunch reservation for us on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at The Dinner Diner. I'll call you Monday to remind you of our appointment.

3. Make it easy for the recipient to communicate with you. Whatever type of communication you prefer, be certain it's listed in the close-out: email, phone and address are standard. Website addresses and social media accounts may work in certain situation. However, don't expect to submit your proposal and then think your work is done. As we saw in point No. 2, take the initiative to indicate you'll be in touch to discuss the proposal further.

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