Most of our clients sell their work through formal proposals. That’s because – unlike companies selling products – our clients sell brainpower where the results of their work can’t be seen until after the project has been completed. This what makes proposal writing so challenging…and that’s why most of us hate doing it. So,what if rather than assume that every sales conversation with a client needs to end with you saying, “We’ll get that proposal to you next week”, you stop and ask:
- Does the client really need a proposal? Sometimes, a timeline, project plan or detailed email may be enough. If you are really lucky, you will have worked with the client in the past and all she/he really needs is a price to get started.
- Does the client really know what he/she wants? Conversely, do YOU really know what the client wants? Why go through the motion of writing a proposal if one – or both of you – is unclear on the objectives of the project or even how you should proceed? Sure, in circumstances like this, writing a formal proposal can help clarify objectives. But its usually far more expedient for both you and the client to step back, spend time discussing the parameters so that you see eye-to-eye before your fingers hit the keyboard.
If, after asking yourself these questions you find that a proposal is still the best route to take, we provide a handful of tactical and practical proposal writing tips here.