Running an agency involves a variety of different tasks, one of them being handling clients who don't pay on time. It’s one of those difficult pieces of business people don’t often talk about, but today we're doing it.
On the surface proposals seem pretty straight forward to write. All you have to do is send a few emails. Gather a few tasks that the prospect wants done, put a dollar value on those tasks and let the prospect know what that dollar value is.
The single biggest mistake consultants make in writing proposals is rushing to get them to prospects. We rush because we all have a some deep seated fear that if we don’t get the prospect a proposal fast they’re going to find someone else and of course this is the last prospect we’ll see for a while. That fear is a lie we tell ourselves and it causes us to skip so many questions we need answers to. You will get more prospects and you will land more work, so before you write your next proposal...
The only goal of a proposal is to persuade your prospect to do business with you. If it fails in that task then by definition it was a bad proposal. But unless you know what a good proposal looks like, all you can do is assume that your proposal must be a good one. You have nothing else to compare it against. Let's look at the 4 things good proposals need to do to win work.
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It's Friday night and you're feeling good. You ended the day by sending a proposal that you think is a solid lock. Come Monday you'll be looking at a new project worth an easy 5 figures and you deserve it after a number of phone calls with the prospect where you knocked things out of the park. But that's not what you see in your inbox Monday.
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If you want work, you need to write proposals, and for many people that is not a happy thought. They really want to dive in to their craft and knock out a great design or write elegant code. The proposal is simply a way to get to the execution of that craft. Unfortunately along with this distaste for writing proposals comes a lack of understanding what the job of a good proposal is.