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Proposals that win (and four things to agree BEFORE you write it)

Tags: Be interesting | Presentations | Impact | Save time | Do more | Sales | Influencing

17th October

Proposal-writing isn’t much fun.

How to write something so persuasive that someone will give you some money?

Not easy. And they're pretty stressful. People hate writing them. Recipients (your ‘customer’) hate reading them. They take ages.
And it's easy to think “I don’t know why I’m bothering to write all this. They’ll just go straight to the Price Section, and say we’re too expensive.”

As I say, a lot of stress.

Well you can remove virtually all this stress with three simple words:

       Confirmation not exploration

In other words, you want your proposals to confirm what you’ve already agreed verbally, rather than exploring new ideas with the customer.

Why? Because you’re more persuasive than any piece of paper could ever be. So you should do the persuading. The paper should merely confirm what you’ve agreed.

And there are four things to agree verbally before writing the proposal:

  1. Your solution. Make sure both you and your customer agree with the solution you’re providing
  2. The price. Agree this verbally. If you don’t, the first time they see it is on a piece of paper when you aren’t there to justify/explain it… not good
  3. Your headings. Agree the headings they want in your proposal. That way, you write what they want to see! It’s also easier and quicker to write
  4. The follow-up. Remove the dreaded “when do I chase my proposal?” trauma by agreeing before you send the proposal when you’ll speak afterwards. That way, no Telephone Tennis – result!

I don’t write proposals unless I’ve agreed all four.

Neither do my customers.

Why? Because it takes all the stress away.

Proposals are quicker to write. They’re easier to write. They get opened more quickly. The follow-up always happens.

Most importantly – they work.

Action point

For your next proposal, agree the Big Four before writing it.

And after your proposal? You might have to do a sales presentation. And for some top tips on how to nail this, here’s a short video showing the four things you must get right.