When someone asks to “send a proposal” the words are musical to the ears for some consultants. The process of writing a proposal is a milestone in the sales process. It is one of the chances to get the client know you well and start a new project. Even though proposal writing is no fun, most writers jump to the task because they find it exciting.
A well drafted proposal can result in a winning project, while a poor drafted proposal can result in losing the project plus a waste of many resources put to work to draft the proposal. You may want to follow the killer 12 steps in the proposal writing process.
1. Create a powerful, but concise executive summary: Every person reviewing the proposal would first look upon the executive summary, and then if he finds it interesting he would go further. The easiest way to write an effective summary is to explain everything like the client knows nothing about you and your project.
2. Quantify the results that the client can expect from engaging you: Some people, when writing the proposal, focus on explaining their consulting process and methodologies. You should focus on your project, your product cause, that’s what the client is looking for and not the methods.
3. Be generous with your ideas: Some people think that revealing their ideas to the client can be harmful as the client may steal your idea and then complete the proposed solution himself but that may happen in very rare cases but you have to realize that you may never get the success you want if you hold your idea. Use the ideas in a creative and distinctive way that might show the client that your team thinks out of the box.
4. Size does matter: Don’t make long and boring proposals; no one has the time to read stories during business hours. Make your proposal as short as possible while keeping the client’s request’s in mind; focus on the quality not the quantity.
5. Focus on the client: Whenever you draft a proposal, focus on the clients need and get in his shoes so that you may get a better idea what he wants and whether you are providing him with that or not.
6. Beware of best practices: Don’t just go with the best way to do the task the client may not be impressed with, if you get others impressed by that then think a little different innovative, for a change it would be good for you and the proposal.
7. Be accurate: If you are proving some previous client data in the proposal check it twice or thrice before submitting because a lot of data can be misunderstood in the proposal, give the client an accurate data.
8. Sweat every detail: Watch for grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes. Make sure the proposal gets into the right hand at the right time.
9. Rewrite your resume for every proposal: Mention your skills in the resume that demonstrates your qualification for the project.
10. Finish early: Finish writing before time so that you may get a couple of days to review and check for mistakes and get it reviewed by a couple of others too, to see if they get what you are trying to say.
11. Let your personality shine through: Give the client a little humor so that he may know what kind of a person you are. And give a little hint of your firm’s culture and norms. Let the client know what he is dealing with.
12. Don't let your claims outdistance your true capabilities: It is right to mention a couple of your past victories but don’t get so carried away that you provide with material that sets high barriers and later you can’t stand up to it.
Proposals are very important in a sales process. Don’t just come up with anything and give it to the client, instead, meet the client and come up with something new and innovative so that he finds it interesting to read and that might result in your success.