Do your proposals persuade?

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A potential new client calls you. He asks some initial questions about your services and provides you with details on his project. You have a great conversation. He seems impressed with you. When you give him a rough idea of your pricing, he says, “Sounds okay. Send me your proposal for this project. I’m eager to get started right away.”

Looks good so far, doesn’t it? The client is all but yours. But things can still go horribly wrong…

If the quotation or proposal you send to the client doesn’t provide all the information he needs, or doesn’t further persuade him that you’re the ideal professional for the job, then you can still lose the project.

I ran into this very situation just a few days ago.

I was looking for a professional to do some work for my business. I spoke to several candidates, had a good conversation with one of them, and asked him to submit his quotation.

He did. I got it a few hours later. It was in the form of an email with just one line. “My price for this project will be $_______.”

That’s it. It may have been the shortest quotation I’ve ever received from anyone for anything!

His price was okay and I may still use his services. But his quotation did NOTHING to further persuade me.

You see, he forgot (or wasn’t aware of) the cardinal rule of quoting: When you’re quoting, you’re selling. You’re selling your services. You’re selling yourself.

Your quotation must do more than just state your price. It must also contain any other information the prospect needs to hire you right away AND convince the prospect that he’s making the right decision in choosing you.

So the next time you quote a new project — whether it’s an informal price quote sent by email or a more detailed proposal — ask yourself:

  • Am I confirming my understanding of all the project details?
  • Am I demonstrating that I know what the prospect is trying to achieve? (Hint: He doesn’t want a new white paper per se. He wants what that white paper will help him accomplish: thought leadership.)
  • Am I describing how my services will help him achieve that result?
  • Am I including testimonials, credentials, samples and other information that helps the prospect believe that I’m the best choice for the project?
  • Am I clearly describing the next step he needs to take to proceed with the project as quoted?
  • Am I asking the prospect to take that next step?

The more thoroughly your quotation addresses these questions, the more persuasive it will be.

Sure, I realize that creating a persuasive quotation takes a little more time to prepare. But, considering that it will undoubtedly increase your chances of landing the project, it’s definitely time well spent.

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