Writing A Proposal That Sells, Wins Clients, Does Double Duty and Beats Your Sales Goals
A proposal is a document that is designed to convince a company to buy a product or service. There are proposals we prepare to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP is typically created to attract bids from vendors, tends to be prescriptive and includes detailed information about the scope of work, the questions each vendor should answer, forms that may need to be submitted with the proposal, and a firm deadline by which vendors should submit proposals.
There are also proposals that consultants prepare after a sales call with a prospective client.
These proposals are designed by you or someone on your team and include the details you want to feature to communicate to the prospective client that you understand the scope of work, provides an overview of how your company can complete the work, and lays out why your company should be selected to provide the services. In many instances, they are customized to the prospect.
There are also RFQs, RFIs, and RFAs and we cover each one, their differences, and the benefits of responding to each type in the Ready Set Go Consult Membership.
There are numerous articles about what should be in a proposal. At Grants Works, our proposals always focus on the client’s needs.
We start with a summary of the client and the specific needs they shared during the sales call. This section is especially important because it communicates to the client that you took the time to learn about them, you listened to their needs, and your company can provide the service. Other areas of the proposal should clarify the deliverables, provide a capability profile of your firm, describe the team that will work on the project, and other important sections. It should also be well-formatted and error-free.
One of the templates we updated in The Ultimate Consultants and Freelancers Starter Kit is the proposal template, so be sure to check it out.
How to win clients
Earlier this year I analyzed the win rate of the consulting engagement proposals sent since I started the business, and we currently have a win rate of approximately 60%. Several sources put the average at about 45%. Of course, the win rate is impacted by several factors such as price, ability to effectively communicate our expertise, clarifying the client’s needs in a way that helps them better understand our approach, and other factors.
My strategy for winning more clients begins with centering the proposal content on the client’s needs, focusing on our expertise, sharing testimonials, and, yes, including our client references in each proposal as a standard---no need for them to ask.
How it does double- or even triple-duty
Drop the carefully crafted project objective and scope of work into your consulting agreement. That’s it. No need to write it. There are other ways my company uses the copy from our proposals that we share in the membership.
Beating your sales goals
Let’s be honest. Your proposal isn’t the only factor when you’re trying to meet or beat your sales goals. You need leads, qualified leads—ready-to-purchase leads—and the pricing must be beneficial to your company and your client.
Proposals should only be prepared for those prospects you believe are ready to engage outside support, have the budget to pay for your company's services, and understand the value of your services. One way to help them understand the value is to demonstrate it during the sales call AND to reiterate that value in the proposal. We make them very clear by providing several value-based features in each proposal.
Proposal development apps
Proposal development applications make proposal development and design much easier. There are also multi-function applications that have proposal or brochure development features. The trick is to figure out which one to use. We feature five of these applications in The Ultimate Consultants and Freelancers Starter Kit so you can quickly compare.
Having a client-focused, well-crafted, well-designed proposal is one of the first “products” your prospect will have a chance to evaluate. It should be the best representation of you and your company so you must develop proposals that win and that can be easily duplicated and customized for other prospects.
To learn more about the Ready Set Go Consult Membership and how we can help you develop a winning operational structure, attract more clients, and grow your business, check out this video.
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