Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to Write an Import/Export Business Proposal?

Even more business is global these days, and all sorts of companies are looking for import and export services to move products across borders.

If you're in the import/export business, you need to let potential clients know how valuable your services can be to them. Of course, you'll want a dynamite website and maybe some paper advertising as well to attract attention, but to get work contracts, you need to understand how to create a business proposal.

A business proposal is more than just a price quote or a brochure. Each proposal should be targeted to the specific client's needs and should explain in detail what you have to offer and how it will benefit the client.

All service proposals have a definite structure that you should follow for maximum success. Here's the basic four-part structure:

1) Introduction

2) Client-centered section

3) Description of products, services, and costs

4) A section that's all about you.

Now, each of these parts could have dozens of pages, or only a few. The length of the proposal depends on the complexity of the project and the services you are offering.

Let's look at the sections in more detail. The introduction is the simplest. Start off your proposal packet with a Cover Letter. Keep it short--just explain who you are, why you're sending this proposal, and include all your important contact information. The letter should include a "call to action" statement saying what you'd like the reader to do after considering your proposal. Most likely, you'll want them to call you to set up a meeting or contract for your services.

The Cover Letter should accompany your proposal, but the first page of your proposal should be a Title page that simply states what the proposal is about: for example, "Import and Shipping Services from China for GTG Corporation" or "Import/Export Services Proposed for Baker Manufacturing Services."

That's all you need for an introduction if your proposal is short and simple. If it's longer, you may want to include a Table of Contents and an Executive Summary or Client Summary page--this is a page for busy readers who may not read all the details, and it should contain a list of the most important points you want to get across.

Now for the client-centered portion of the proposal. This is what truly differentiates a proposal from a sales brochure, and doing a good job on this section can make the difference between a proposal that gets tossed into the pile and a proposal that results in a contract. Why? Because all organizations are necessarily self-centered; they want to know how your offerings will benefit them. So, in this client-centered section, you need to prove that you understand the potential client's business, needs, and concerns.

If you don't feel that you already have that knowledge, then you'll need to do a little work to get it, but it will be worth the time. Put yourself in your potential client's shoes. Is the company branching out to markets in new countries, or considering importing goods from manufacturers in other countries? Do they have difficulties with shipping, transportation, or customs issues? Do they have limitations on budgets or schedules? At a minimum, you'll want a Needs page in this section that lists the client's needs. Depending on the client's size and type of business, you might also need to discuss Restrictions, Limitations, Schedule, or Budget, or include a Requirements page that sets forth their criteria for import/export services.

After you've written down everything you know about your client's needs and concerns, it's time to explain how you can meet those needs with solutions in the services description section. Include all the pages necessary to describe your services and what those services will cost. Be sure to match your discussion with the client's needs. At the very least, you'll want a Services page and a Cost Summary page. You may also need specialized pages to discuss Global issues, to separate out your Imports and Exports services, describe Strategic Alliances you have formed, or to describe any Shipping services you also provide.


  1. One thing I would like to add is that the proposal should not be too lengthy to read. As the reader will get bored reading and might lose interest in doing business or further negotiations.
    Import Export Business

  2. Learn the basics of a "green" environmental business proposal. Anyone can slap a price quote together but that isn't often a winning strategy. You need to show your potential client that you can be trusted to deliver on the products or services they need. This article will show you just how to do that. proposal business letter