Accountancy Marketing: Writing Effective Proposals
By Martin Bissett – Accountancy Marketing blog
Getting the proposal document right is a mini-science in itself and in a programme like the Business Development on a Budget Coaching Club we have the parameters to explore the full nuances of writing client winning proposals. Details of what is covered in the program are here, but in the interim, here are the key guidelines.
First of all the proposal is written with the business in mind, not with us in mind. So it must make sense to them and it must pass, what I call, the ‘so what test’.
The so what test comes in when we might be describing what we’ve discovered and learnt about their business in that first meeting and one thing that wouldn’t pass a so what test would be if a sentence or paragraph that suggests that Thomas Manufacturing, who was established in 1985 has 64 employees and operates in three major markets, the US, the UK and Central Europe.
We can get all that from the website. We know that. That doesn’t pass the so what test. When you read that you think, ‘so what’; however if we worded the exact same information differently using what we’ve learned from the meeting, we might say something along the lines of:
‘Thomas Manufacturing is the victim of its success and its three major markets, because of the exponential growth it’s seen over the last three years a lot of pressure has been put on the ownership and funders of the business to maintain cash flow whilst they get to grips with doing business in so many different territories. This means that the leadership of the business is under tremendous pressure to make sure that…’ and on it goes.
A proposal document can’t do the work for us however, it can’t negotiate for us, it can’t justify price for us, it can’t present the major points and create empathy for us. So we must remember that unless we have no choice, sending the proposal is only going to allow the business to skip straight to the price and make a quick decision on this, undoing all of our good work in the initial meeting.
Sending the proposal document really is my second choice in the professional selling process, but if it must be done then let’s give ourselves every chance of being able to still win the work and let’s make sure that when the prospective client receives our documentation that is it as clearly explained as it can possibly be to negate our absence of being there in person to present it.
To Your Continued Success
Founder of the Upward Spiral Partnership