How Soon Should You Send a Proposal?



Knowing when to send a proposal can be just as difficult as crafting the proposal itself. This is especially true if someone says, “that’s fine, just send me a quote” or “just send me a proposal” without being all that interested in the solution you offer.

After all, writing, designing, and putting together sales proposals takes time, and you don’t want to waste precious time on prospects that have no chance of converting.

Here are some things to keep in mind before sending over that proposal and how to determine the right time to hit send.

Before You Send a Proposal

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that not every prospect is meant to be a customer.

As a salesperson, you need to determine if the prospect/company in question is a good fit. Ask yourself, does it make sense to do business with this organization?

When you’re asked to send a proposal, here are some questions to ask yourself and/or the prospect before obliging:

  • Why are they asking for it? It’s important to understand if the prospect is asking for the proposal because s/he is genuinely interested in your solution or for other reasons. For example, oftentimes businesses are given a minimum number of proposals they must consider before selecting a solution. Sometimes, the prospect has already decided on a solution but has to send out a few more RFPs to hit that number.
  • What will happen once they get it? It’s important to know what’s going to happen with your proposal once your prospect receives it. Will it go directly in the storage bin, to someone not qualified to make a decision, or to—ideally—the decision maker? Make sure you know what will happen once you send over your proposal and the time frame the prospect has for making a decision.

Ultimately, asking questions is the best way to not only determine if you should send a proposal, but to see if the prospect is a good fit for your solution and organization.

Determining When to Send Your Proposal

One of the best ways to know if and when you should send the proposal is to look at past experience.

If you aren’t doing so already, start keeping track of the number of proposals written, the amount of time spent preparing them, the number of people involved in the process, and the number of deals won.

By keeping track of the time and resources spent versus number of deals won, you’ll be better able to determine if you’re utilizing your time efficiently.

It’s also important to see which deals you’re winning. By pinpointing the similarities between the deals you’re winning and the accounts you’re servicing, you’ll have a better idea of which type of client is the best fit for your solution.

Based on the numbers you’ve accumulated and the similarities you’ve seen between accounts won, you’ll have a much better idea of if and when you should be sending your proposals.


Asking prospects the right questions and knowing which type of client is a best fit for your business will help you and your entire sales team be much more effective and efficient.

Only send sales proposals that you know will actually be seriously considered and stop wasting salespeople’s valuable time.