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How to send the perfect proposal from Ashlyn Writes


last updated:
June 21, 2019


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Let's get you a message so tight you can bounce a quarter off of it. Around here, we serve up science-based storytelling strategies the creative set.  Even while raking in more than 1.26M in agency work since I've been at it, I firmly believe working from a place of rest (not hustle) IS possible—and I want the same for you. Words matter. Best be sure they work (and oui, with math) ... and know how to party while they're at it. 

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Reading time: 4 min.

My ability to close sales—even with packages and service prices going up—has skyrocketed the past year. I sold about $16.5k of services in one day … pretty sure I had poop and spit up on me, so I was so proud. So, what’s the secret? There are a few things involved, but one is sending a killer proposal.

It’s a LOT more than just typing up what you can do for someone and pressing that send button (kinda nerve-wracking) …

There are some ninja secrets that I’ve learned to weave into the process, and I’m breaking it down in this post


How to send a perfect proposal in Honeybook from Ashlyn Writes


You know around here I like to talk about sales and communications as a copywriter and messaging strategist for creatives. When I did a video about my client workflow last year, it really took off, so I thought if you found that valuable I should just go ahead and make a behind-the-scenes video about how I actually send proposals to clients.

Step 1

So, let’s dive into step one which is creating a template to use over and over again. YEAH, I created a proposal for work templates when I was in agency marketing. I remember starting my business and making something so similar. But I serve people that like the pretty, as I say ha. I had to send one that gave an experience. Now, I wanted it to feel beautiful, high-end and curated, but I didn’t like the opening of different things.  This is where HoneyBook, the CRM tool that I use and LOVE in my business to manage all my team’s clients have been INTEGRAL. They have a new proposal brochure tool that is so pretty. I used to mock up PDFs and send them as hyperlinks, but now it’s one full experience that really showcases my brand.

Someone once told me that if you want to charge big money for what you do, be willing to invest that amount into your own business. GOOD, right!? The year I really started perfecting my packages, I spent $11k on a service provider to work with her to create custom imagery for my brand. I got to be my own client, and see what it felt like to go through that proposal process and learn from her. I’ve only enhanced my proposal experience after learning what it felt like to go through it.

Some copywriters—I’m actually with them the week this drops!—actually asked me about telling how I’ve learned to carve out a niche, and this was big.

Quick tip—do that!

So that’s step one. Create a template you can use over and over again. Let me show you what that looks like in HoneyBook.

[Insert screenflow of HB]

Especially if it’s a custom proposal and I spend time typing it out (more on that below!) and they DON’T accept it!? It kinda stinks, but at least it was a template that you worked off of. You can send welcome kits, guides to working with you, proposals, service catalogs, your portfolio and more.

Step 2

Step two is writing the customer-specific part! I’ve played around with a lot of different types of proposals and what I’ve found is the ones that feel most custom (surprise) do the best. So I do try to add a custom spin on every template and make really personal. Again, you really need to pay attention during your sales call to saying things back to them that they asked for. Plus, SURE maybe you know all your messages but they don’t. Intro them to what you do again.

Now, I don’t include bio copy in this, because that’s stuff I include in my inquiry pricing guide magazine, which is also sent in HoneyBook via the brochure tool. The proposal itself is really about the process and they “why” behind each part of the process. I also like to kinda prove to them I was listening in this, and that I’m worth the investment.

Step 3

Cost estimate—this is step number 3, and it’s really really important. I mentioned the “why” a second ago—I think that’s important. You can list items or services that you offer, descriptions of the services, and price estimates for clients to review. If you’ve hung around me, you’ve heard me talk about features and benefits as a copywriter, and I’d suggest reminding them here what the benefit is of each part of the process. Sure, you may have this on your services page, but go ahead and include it here, too.

I’m going to show you right now what that could look like loaded into a HoneyBook brochure template.

I like to hear how they can select what they want, a la carte … that would have been SO helpful with calligraphy clients.

You also may want to include a rough sketch timeline at this stage, again this is why I like templates, bc I don’t want to create a custom proposal for EVERY client that takes a zillion hours.

Step 4

Next step, send over info on how they can sign, book, and pay the deposit. We’re going to go in Honeybook and I’m going to pick the contract and payment plan I want and let them load in there.

Include a line about how long it’s good for. I can’t stress this! Include a note in there about scope creep or working together in the future. Then, very similar to how in all copywriting we clearly let people know what to do next with a call to action, it’s important to do that with your proposal, too.

The next thing is to make sure you have a follow-up built in. HoneyBook brochures give your clients the ability to book directly from the file, helping you stand out and book more.

Oh, one bonus tip—can you add any resources that may be helpful?

Now that you are going to books more clients with this perfect proposal, let’s get your onboarding process down! Watch this video right here where I share with how I onboard new clients using Honeybook and Trello.

If you are not already using Honeybook make sure to grab your free trial and 50% off!


Reading Time: 4 Minutes Reading time: 4 min. My ability to close sales—even with packages and service prices going up—has skyrocketed the past year. I sold about $16.5k of services in one day … pretty sure I had poop and spit up on me, so I was so proud. So, what’s the secret? There are a few things involved, […]


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comments +

  1. Manon Roux says:

    Hi Ashlyn,

    I have a question about your process.
    In your blog and YouTube videos you mention a few different pieces you send out to potential clients.

    I’m a bit confused at what point in your flow you send the car wash menu — is it sent after the contact form is filled out? What is the difference between the “Car Wash Menu,” the proposal, and the contract?

    Appreciate any clarity you can share.
    Thank you so much!


    • Manon! Thanks so much for reaching. Ok so this is the breakdown–> ✅They saw your website and they reach out

      ✅You send over the carwash and the offerings and then couple that with some sort of sales call where you’re really jumping into what you could do for them

      ✅Next up you send your proposal & collect payment

      ➡️➡Then, for our clients, this is when they get their welcome magazine and their onboarding kit. This is gonna break down how we best communicate when we’re online, how this process is gonna work for them, etc. This is linked in the big email copy they get where I’m also breaking down step-by-step what I need from them to get started.

      Does this help, Manon?? Please hit reply and let me know! 🙂

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