Delivering the Winning Proposal at a Sea of Mediocrity
If company proposals were judged Solely on their weight and quantity (rather than focus and content ), then nearly all of them will be very profitable.
The Issue Is That, somewhere in earnings Folklore, there are just two fairy-stories about suggestions that, most suggestion writers seem to think, will throw the magical’buy-this-one’ spell over any prospective client.
The stories are:
1) Plenty of’bumph’ is much Far Better than Too small.
2) First thing proposal-readers Are looking for is info about us.
In these stories, the meeting order of the majority of business proposals tends to be as follows:
– Title page
– Info about ourselves- just how long we have been in company etc
– Photographs: Our directors (with livelihood backgrounds)Our office/ warehouse
– Comprehensive Info about our services and products
– Proof of the Sum of product/service the customer wants to buy
– The Price the customer will have to pay
– The Setup and implementation demands
– Terms and Conditions and duplicate of our contract
The very first, horrible reality I must Set before you, in an effort to wean off you that this mythical-magic-proposal- template, is written under. It is so basic to the whole sales process that I would like you to do so for me now: (compose, print, draw, daub the next words on a Really large piece of newspaper and place it over your desk Where You Are Able to see it daily:
“NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOU AND
The term’I’ (alongside its closing And yet it is the commonest word in most business communications. Yes, regardless of the fact that every bit of research on business-persuasion says that,’things about you and what you believe’, does not have any positive effect on the promotion process, business people still cram their suggestions full of it.
If You Would like to read up about the However they will ALL tell you the same thing: (Besides your loved ones and close friends) nobody cares about you….nor what you’re. . .nor what you do….nor everything you believe. And’no’ that your business is NOT different.
Using a whole lot of guff about you and your business, it will soon have a vital position in the pile labelled:”Same As All The Others”.
Not only do the Vast Majority of Proposal-writers pad out the first couple of pages of their suggestions with stuff about themselves (“Yeah-this is what they wish to understand. . .this’ll impress them”) , but they go into enormous detail about it too. You will find full’Bios’ and CV’s of all of their key players, grinning head-shot photos, photos of their assumptions, pictures of warehouses and offices and even pictures of the trucks and vans used for delivery.
Since the reader ventures further into The proposal, in a vain search for what he truly seeks, he’s confronted by’the product booklet’. This normally is made up of description or pictures of these products the customer is interested in, plus – for good measure- all or almost all the other goods and services provided (just in case). This can be a few pages long and often includes detailed technical criteria.
After that comes the price list and Bottom-line quotation for the job in hand.
Eventually comes the killer decision: “Do not hesitate to call us if you require any further info.
OK You have your wish: You are dead.
So what’s to be done?
Do you want me to reveal how Your proposal can go in the rare heap marked”Winner.”
OK it is not hard. . .here goes:
First let us remind ourselves about The reason why your organization exists. It exists, like all companies, businesses and commercial organizations, to resolve a minimum of one problem. That is it! . . .If you are not clear about the problem your business solves then you likely don’t have a business.
You -or reacted to an overture from you- the only reason that they did it was that they thought you may be able to solve a minimum of one difficulty for them. What specific problem is (and there maybe more than one) depends on the type of problem your business is set-up to solve.
So the First Thing needs to Appear in your proposal is something thereabout problem’. Because the first thing your prospective customer will be talking about himself, as he opens the pages, is:”My problem. . Where can it be? . . .Was this individual listening when I had been telling him about all my problems- those he might be able to fix? … Does he show, someplace here, that he understands my problems and the impact they are having on me?”
To fulfill this basic customer demand, The first few pages of your proposal should therefore feedback to the customer, in his/her own words if possible, that you’re listening and have understood all of the problems that your customer wants fixing. There ought to be difficulty’ on your early words. It should be a mirror-summary of what the customer said for you.
Immediately following this opening Section, begin at the top of a brand new page.
In this next section you will be Outlining exactly what,’may’…’has’…’could’ happen if those issues are not fixed. Enlarging on the knock-on ramifications of not fixing a problem, begins a process of emotional reinforcement which raises the desirability of your service. This is especially powerful if you’ve managed to get the client to tell you what he believes could happen if the difficulty rolls . And it is even better if he’s demonstrated just how much the problem is costing or might cost him. If he is told you place it (but don’t invent anything).
So in those first two sections you Have shown the customer which, unlike likely ALL the other suggestions on his desk, YOU were listening to what he had been saying.
At this stage is your client Satisfactorily-up’ and therefore open to see about how your service and/or product will have the ability to address the previously described issues. Having been reminded of his problem he is ready for the solution.
But recall; DO NOT at this point be Struggling to talk too much about what the product’s’ or about your business and its history. Rather set out how and manner in which your product or service will fix the problem. In other words concentrate on the alternative (‘the advantages’) rather than the raw-facts (‘the attributes’)
And DO NOT be tempted into the Common trap of adding-in a load of different features and benefits which don’t address the specific problems given to you by the client. Spurious bits and pieces added in, such as sprinkles on a cake, so as to give a proposal substance (and generally pad it out a bit), will generally not have the desired effect.
Far from making a proposal more Desirable, research proves that there is a direct correlation between heaps of unrequested bits and pieces and the prospective customer complaining about the purchase price!
Yes, occasionally, despite your enormous Arsenal of goods, they only want ONE thing from you. . .that’s stand if so, that’s enough!
So if, for a few obscure masochistic Reason, you want to create price objections, do include in more UN-asked for material. If you do not want them afterward DON’T.
Having now taken the problem to cover The client the compliment of clearly having listened to their own problems and revealed how it is possible to fix theme/she will be searching for the purchase price.
Thus, in the next section (new page) Put it out very easily. And always endeavor to have already given them a good idea of what it is going to be in previous conversations. When there has been no opportunity to try it, you have to do everything in your ability to deliver the proposal in person and go through it together with the client face to face.
If your proposition is actually a Response to a Request for Quotation (RF) or Request for Proposal (REP) received from a potential customer out-of-the-blue (no previous face to face discussion potential ), then I have to tell you something quite alarming: You are most likely very late to the table and the whole deal is less or more sown up with someone else. You are being used!
Invariably another favored Provider has quoted. The problem is that the tender document is based on your competitor’s present quotation (and strengths) so you’re, from the outset, fighting a very tough battle.
Most out-of-the-blue asks (with No discussion possible) will result in a massive quantity of time wasting and mostly no deal.
Well you are. . .the majority of this Important work is now done.
You may, If You Want, currently add, Towards the back, some brief sections about you, your company and how long you’ve been in operation, but DO keep it brief. People don’t have time or the interest to wade through heaps of things. . .would YOU? And, as a general rule, no images of warehouses, warehouses or trucks. . .one appears like another. Nobody is impressed.
It’s often good to offer references At this point but only as long as they’ve asked for them. Bear in mind that the proposal reader has generally and subconsciously made a determination by now.
The final part in the compilation of
Your winnowing Proposal’ should concentrate on telling the customer what he wants to do next. Remember that the human mind can’t hold a negative idea and fails to enroll don’t’ leaving only the,”Please….hesitate to telephone me”, as the last message.
Be sure too, that you print and Bind your proposal using an adequate front title page and a see-through front pay. Do several top-copies too in case your prospect would like to distribute it to her colleagues; better they have a top-copy rather than a misaligned, gray copy, of a copy, of a copy. If you do this DO check that the pages look the same on their P/C and that there are no formatting differences which cause words, phrases and titles to flow across on to another page.
Now print it on really good quality Newspaper (Not the typical 60-80gm copier-stock). Check for spelling mistakes -particularly people’s names- and also use a fantastic clear font (Economic Sans’ it makes you stupidity’ maybe quirky’). And do amount the pages and, following the front title page, then add a contents page….it creates the record look more professional.
There is nothing more I need to include Also it is not difficult to do.
– Title page
– Contents Page
– Problems needing fixing
– Knock-on consequences of not fixing
– Our Focused Option
– Who’s are/experience/background
– Any other related material (keep it short and easy )
– Things to do
Following the procedure outlined previously Will make your proposals more interesting, readable and effective when presented to you customer.
It is also likely to distinguish Your offering in the numerous, even if your product appears very much like your competitors. And on top of that it’ll bring you more business.
That is not a fairy story