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Reasons Your Proposals Keep Getting Rejected

Do you have a hard time getting your proposals accepted? Many business owners have a hard time creating quality proposals. If you're struggling with the same problem let's look at four reasons why proposals get rejected and how you can fix them.

#1 - Sloppy Visuals

Your proposals need to be airtight, which means that every little visual detail counts. First impressions matter and if your proposals don’t look slick and professional, your customers or audience will be less receptive to the content you present. 

You need to make sure that your branding is consistent throughout; you want the way your proposal looks to reflect your brand personality and values. Make good use of white space so that your proposal is easy to read, and create clear sections to draw attention to key points in a logical order. 

Remember that your prospects are most likely speaking to your competitors, too. Creating a professional and visually appealing proposal will help you to stand out from the crowd and build trust.

#2 - You Don’t Focus on the Customer’s Needs

Your proposals should not be an exhaustive list of every single thing you can do. You need to focus on your skills and capabilities that are relevant to the client or customer you are addressing and will enable you to fulfil their needs. 

The golden rule of a proposal is to remember that it’s not about you, it’s about the customer. You need to tailor each proposal to put the customer’s needs front and center. Selling is not about showing off, it’s about being helpful.

Getting super specific and linking everything back to the customer is what will impress them and show them that you have really listened. If you make customers feel seen, respected and understood, you will have a far greater chance of winning a proposal. They want to know that you are committed to delivering value and solving their specific problems. 

#3 - Your Proposals Are Too Long

The length of each proposal depends on the scope of the work and whether you’re presenting to an existing or prospective customer. There’s no set limit, but you should endeavour to keep it as concise as possible. You need to effectively communicate value but if you waffle on for 50 pages, your customers will probably give up long before the end. Remember, customers don’t need to know every single tiny detail - it’s all about the value you will provide.

#4 - You’re Not Presenting Properly 

Do you just email your proposals and wait with your fingers crossed? This approach will definitely see you missing out on deals you may have otherwise won. 

If you can, schedule a call with your customers to run through the proposal. This allows you to answer questions in real time and deliver value during the session so that your customers or clients walk away impressed. Alternatively, you could create a short Loom video to explain the proposal in more depth. 

Using proposal software will also make your proposals seem more professional and increase trust between you and your prospect.


In order to get more of your proposals accepted, you need to focus on the client’s needs and tailor your proposal accordingly. Your proposals should be concise and easy-to-read so that your prospect is clear about what you can do for them. You don't want your proposals to sound like a list of everything you can do - focus on your skills and capabilities that are relevant to what the audience needs. It’s also important to create professional visuals and present your proposal properly via a phone call or video chat if possible. When you fix the core problems, you will find that your proposal success rate goes through the roof.

We hope you find this information useful and please feel free to share it. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Timothy Kelliher & Company Limited

Chartered Accountants

Phone/WhatsApp: +353 (0) 64 6632105


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