How to write a powerful Letter of Intent

A letter of intent expresses the writer’s interest to bid on a project, or to make a business proposition. It is written in response to a Request For Proposal (RFP). It indicates the sender’s intention to get into an agreement with the receiver to execute specific tasks or render service.

Note: This article relates to companies (or individuals) bidding on projects and business. If you are more interested in writing a Letter Of Intent to Bid (for real estate for example), then please consider using our professional Letter of Intent to Bid template.

A good letter of intent improves the company’s prospects of winning a project bid. Some desirable features are:

  1. It should appear as a formal, professional business letter (typed out neatly with letter head and signature).
  2. It should indicate the sender’s expertise and convince the receiver of the company’s sincerity to take up and execute the project.
  3. It should contain contact information in case the receiver wishes to get in touch.
  4. Information about the proposed budget, resources and timelines will help the receiver to evaluate the bid.
  5. If the RFP specifies any pre-requisites / qualifications, the letter of intent should briefly explain how and why the company sending the letter is qualified to do the job.
  6. It is better to address the letter to a specific person (or person with a specific designation) rather than addressing it to the receiving organization or “To whomsoever it may concern”.
  7. Use active voice, point out your strengths and be precise.
  8. Keep the letter short and well organized. Proof-read, review and revise it.
  9. Confidentiality terms, sharing of responsibility and other mandatory requirements should be mentioned in order to set the expectations right on both sides.

The first paragraph should be an introduction of the sender’s organization, services and credentials. The next paragraph should state why the sender is excited about participating in the project. Mention previous successful projects and clients to whom the company has delivered similar services. Mention qualifications, specializations and references. The last paragraph should briefly summarize why you believe that you have the skill set and experience to do the job well and the benefits that the receiver will get if you are chosen to execute the project.

Although it is an official document, it does not legally bind either party to fulfill any objectives stated therein. However, the legal advisor of the company submitting the letter may suggest inserting a clause that the letter cannot be used to force the company to provide the required service. But care should be taken not to give an impression that the sender lacks commitment. The letter of intent should encourage the receiver to contact the sender or meet a representative to carry the process forward and make a deal.

A letter of intent is not a detailed response to the RFP. It is merely a self-introduction to the RFP issuer showing the sender’s desire to work on the project and a request to keep the sender updated with any new requirements added to the RFP. The letter indicates a time frame within which a prototype or a response document will be submitted. During this time, if any updates are made to the RFP, the issuer will know that the sender expects to be informed. The letter of intent will also request for clarifications and answers to questions that help in preparing the response to the RFP. It is a means for the sender and receiver to understand the principles of working with each other before formally entering into a legal agreement.

Organizations will often utilize a Letter of Intent to Respond template in order to achieve consistency and avoid the omission of crucial details. A professionally written Letter of Intent can have a big influence on the outcome of the proposal.

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