Business proposals are an established means of gaining business for most organizations. While organizations send out business proposals to potential client organizations, detailing their products, services, and terms, they receive just as many proposals from other organizations offering various products, services or opportunities for partnership.
Traditionally, business proposals were sent out as letters but nowadays a lot of proposals are sent via email. Whether a business proposal comes as a letter or an email, best practice must be applied in reacting to the business proposal in order to maintain the image of the receiving organization. The proper handling of business proposals is critical in ensuring that opportunities for sales and growth are not missed or dismissed prematurely.
Tips for Handling Unsolicited Business Proposals
Here are some tips for handling unsolicited business proposals to ensure that organizations respond in a professional manner and do not miss out on opportunities:
Review All Business Proposals
Opportunities for growth, expansion or new business often come to organizations through unsolicited business proposals. Therefore, it is essential to establish an organizational culture where all business proposals are reviewed and not arbitrarily dismissed as spam. Though some business proposals received by your organization may be completely inconsistent with the objectives and vision of your organization, some unsolicited business proposals will provide insight into developments in your industry or public perception of your organization’s business or operation.
Ensure the Approving Authority Reviews the Proposal
Well-structured organizations have an established secretariat or mail receiving unit. Often times the person that receives emails is merely an admin assistant or office clerk with no decision making authority or strategic oversight. It is therefore imperative that all business proposals reach at least a management level staff that can assess the proposal based on the organization’s current strategic focus.
Acknowledge All Proposals
Receiving a business proposal from an organization presupposes knowledge of your organization and interest in your operation by that organization. The courtesy of acknowledging receipt of any communication directed to your organization by an outside organization greatly amplifies the image of your organization as professional and efficient.
Communicate Decision Professionally
In acknowledging receipt of business proposals and communicating the acceptance or refusal of the proposal, it is essential to be clear, direct and professional in your communication. Clearly state the decision of your organization, provide reasons for such decisions and lay out any other issues. Communicating decisions can often be challenges especially when the decision is negative. Remember that such decisions are usually not personal but based on organizational priorities and focus on stating the facts objectively.
Keep the Door Open
The prevailing situation/circumstance at any given time is a critical factor in organizational effectiveness according to organizational behavior authorities. A business proposal or organization that does not serve your present needs or requirements may become relevant at a later date, so leave room for future encounters. Statements that thank the sending organization for their proposal and offer to contact the organization when the product or service is needed achieve this purpose effectively.
Sample Response Emails to Unsolicited Business Proposals
Below are sample response emails to unsolicited business proposals based on possible feedbacks from receiving organizations.
We will cover:
- Request for additional information or meeting request
- Acceptance of the business proposal; and
- Rejection of the business proposal
Sample Response Email I – Request for Additional Information or Meeting Request
Thank you for your email introducing XYZ company and offering to partner with ABC Inc.
Our management team has reviewed your proposal and wishes to thank you for your interest in promoting ABC Inc. through your social media platforms.
Our team would like to meet with your organization to discuss your proposal further. Kindly confirm your availability to meet with our Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. John, and his team on Monday, August 14, 2017, by 10 am at our office located at No 16, Marshall Street.
We await your prompt confirmation. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any additional information.”
For: ABC Inc.
Sample Response Email II – Acceptance of Business Proposal
We wish to acknowledge receipt of your email offering to provide distribution services for ABC Inc. at a subsidized rate and communicate the decision of our board to partner with our organization.
Kindly find attached proposed terms and conditions outlined by our team based on the details of your proposal. Please review and confirm acceptance of the terms.
Our team is available to meet with your organization to discuss the proposed terms at your convenience.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for any clarifications.
For ABC Inc.
Sample Response Emails III – Rejection of the Business Proposal
Thank you for your proposal emailed to ABC Inc. offering translation services for our online content.
Our team agrees that professional translation services are essential when promoting a business internationally to ensure acceptance by the local market. However, our strategic focus right now at ABC Inc. is on growing in our local market.
Thank you for your interest in ABC Inc. We will contact you for your terms and quote when we wish to promote our organization internationally.
For: ABC Inc.
By reviewing all proposals, getting strategic oversight, acknowledging all proposals, communicating professionally and keeping lines of communication open, you maintain relationships with senders of business proposals and position your organization to benefit when strategic opportunities are presented.
These are just a few pointers to help you handle unsolicited business proposals professionally. The greatest indicator of the most appropriate communication style is your organization’s culture, operating procedures, and policies. An understanding of these ensures that your actions are consistent with your organization’s objectives, vision, and mission. Lastly, when in doubt about how best to handle an unsolicited business proposal, consult your direct supervisor for guidance.