by: Bill Ringle
Do you know the area that business owners tend to trip themselves up in more than any other? It’s writing a good proposal.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’ve read some great proposals: well researched, well written, and really hefty. Wow. Some of those took more hours to write than I care to think about unless they’ve figured out how to be paid by the pound.
The problem is, that in the time it took those people to produce that beautiful document, members of the Rainmaker Academy have submitted three proposals, deposited 2 checks, and begun work on both of those new projects.
In short, the extra work is unnecessary and irrelevant to getting the business in the model I teach. The length of the proposal is unrelated to the size of the project in most cases. I have a two page template for projects up to $25,000 and I’ve seen others use this approach to land six figure projects with six page proposals.
Now, this is for business-to-business work typically known as consulting work, not the federal government and we know better than to submit to RFP, or request for proposal, processes.
Here are a few tips that you can apply:
Remember that a proposal is a summary document, not an exploratory document. Many consultants and business owners surrender significant advantage in their sales process because they fail to cover the bases in the meeting with the prospective client and instead rely on the proposal to do some of the selling. That’s counterproductive and limits your earnings.
Remember that the proposal should be based 90% around the value exchange and what responsibilities each party accepts. Once you go off into company background, biographies, what qualifies us to do what we do, favorite books we’re currently reading, whether we prefer door handles installed on the left or the right, and so on, you’re in the weeds and you’ve got to get out.
Remember that you can write most of the proposal from your preliminary research before you have your meeting with the prospect. That’s right, when you have a strong sales process and understand your own business model it really allows you to focus on a few key items in your meeting. What allows a true rainmaker to get out a proposal faster than his competition can get back to their office is that rainmakers know what to focus on to get the job done.
Apply these tips to your process and watch your acceptance rate soar.