Successful Proposals

Surprise! I’ve been selling for a few years. I’m best known for the 20+ years that I spent in collections. As you can imagine, financial people asked for proposals all the time. I spent a few years selling energy conservation projects for an engineering firm. Why do some proposals win and some lose? What is the secret to writing a winning proposal? Can you tip the odds in your favor?

Only if you want to!

What kind of an answer is that? It’s the truth! You might find this hard to believe, but I’ve met people that are actually happy with a hit rate of less than 100%. Imagine this. Network. Network. Network….for hours to get business cards to call. Call. Call. Call…..for hours to schedule appointments. Meet with prospects and get to the point that they ask you for a proposal. Whether your proposals take an hour to generate or a week, if your hit rate is 80% (Congratulations, but) you’re wasting 20% of your time. If it’s 50%, you’re wasting half your time. If you’re only winning a third of your proposals, ask yourself, “WHY?” If you’re working a 40-50 hour week, you’re wasting 30-ish hours every week. If you have support staff (engineers, CAD, administrative), you’re wasting ⅔ of their time. Think about it. If you are the owner, the rainmaker in your company and you are only winning ⅓ of your proposals, you’re giving your kids college education to prospects that never buy from you. WHY?

Here’s the secret. Here’s how to fix the problem. Here’s how to stop wasting time. Here’s how to increase your odds. Here’s how to take the guesswork out of your pipeline, work flow, and cash flow.

It’s a three step process.

Step #1. Decide and believe that you want to.

Step #2. Identify prospect’s compelling need, establish urgency, develop speed on bases, qualify or disqualify yourself and your prospect regarding budget, decision process, timeline, terms, etc.

Step #3. Help prospect write the proposal agreement. Have them sign it if it’s acceptable. If not, help them fix it. After they sign it, you sign it and ask them to make themselves a copy.

If at any point during the process, either you or the prospect disqualifies, leave gracefully. If a customer doesn’t want to write a proposal, they’re more interested in playing games than in getting fixed. Leave.

That’s it. That’s my process. If you need help getting it to work, call me. We’ll make a plan.

If you don’t think you can do it, re-read the whole post, but especially “Step #1.”

7 thoughts on “Successful Proposals

  1. The “I hate selling” book : business-building advice for consultants, attorneys, accountants, engineers, architects, and other professionals by Allan S. Boress. I liked it. As you know, I have been studying making rain for the independent.

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