The proposal is your best shot at demonstrating that you are serious and qualified to help your prospect achieve his or her goals. The proposal helps you present your case in a most compelling and attractive package. It is your best shot at positioning yourself as the go-to resource. You can’t afford to shoot yourself in the foot.
With this in mind, here are five mistakes that can prove deadly to any proposal:
1. Failure to do your homework. If you neglect to base the content of your proposal on what you know about the prospect’s needs and preferences, you are setting yourself up as just another sales hack. Your proposal should explain how your service and its associated benefits are specifically tailored to your prospect’s needs. They cannot be interpreted as just another generic formula.
2. Neglecting to have a unified theme. Your proposal needs to make it clear how your solutions/ideas/recommendations compare with your competitors’. The theme should be consistent with your overall mission, and should provide a compelling reason why the prospect should immediately subscribe to your way of doing things.
3. Using a standard format. Prospects prefer when the entire proposal has been tailored specifically for them. This obviously takes some effort on your part, but the more you personalize this document the better your prospect will feel about the way you are handling their specific concerns.
4. Not interviewing the prospect. Failing to ensure that you are addressing the key points raised by your prospect is an exercise in futility. Timely feedback can avoid unpleasant surprises later on when it comes to a decision to work with you or not. Arriving at key issues early will stack the deck in your favor.
5. Proposing unrealistic results. If your prospect has in writing that he/she can expect incredible results, it sets the table for great dissatisfaction when only modest achievement occurs. It is better to promise less and deliver more. Better yet, never promise anything you can’t deliver. If you write it … do it.
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