4 Things Your Proposals Need to Do
Know what your proposals need to do before you start writing them
Securing good work means writing great proposals. Unless you know the ropes, it is easy to overdo it. Or not take it seriously enough, or even become overwhelmed to the point of not doing it at all. The proposal element can feel like an obstacle in the way of you doing what you came get paid doing. Your proposal is much more than a simple manual of what steps you intend to take and how much it will cost. It can set the right expectations, explain the value of your service, and express your professionalism to your employers.
It gets easy to spit out huge, 20 page proposals with all kinds of unneeded data about the company, your qualifications, and even a charming story about how your name was chosen. But don’t do that. Start with improving the following 4 aspects for your proposals and watch your closing rates rise.
1. Offer more than just a price.
Your work is more than a simple commodity. Even when done for hire, it is a part of you, and you are more than your work; therefore, it’s important to present yourself accordingly. You’re selling the value you bring to a business, not a used car or stick of gum.
If the only element an employer seeks to judge is the price you provide, then it’s most likely in their best interest to find the lowest price and use that provider. Let them. And let your proposal speak for the quality and benefits of what you can do to the clients that need them.
2. You are more than a collection of tasks.
Far too often, freelancers turn their proposals into a collection of tasks they need to complete. When it’s all about scope, problems arise as the client thinks too heavily about the deliverables rather than what your efforts will do for the business overall. That makes it too easy to see you as a task accomplishing robot, rather than a professional with a breadth of skills and expertise.
Freelancers will do well to focus their proposals on value they bring to the table. The second problem with a function heavy approach is that it makes it far too easy to shop around for a better price. On task laden proposals you’re more likely to see potential clients come back with a lower price from some other providers, and attempt to negotiate your price even lower.
Focus on the value your presence brings rather than writing out a list of how to be you and do what you do.
3. Show, don’t tell how awesome you are.
The desire to use your proposal to make your company look amazing and important is palpable. Unfortunately, doing so leaves out the first rule about sales… “It’s not about you, it’s about the customer.” Rather than a proposal that talks about how long you’ve been a leader in whatever industry, and how impressive your previous client list is, use your the limited space of your proposal to outline problems and offer solutions. Let the client establish your ability to do the work. You can find a better way to express your ability than talking about all the other companies you may or may not have made money from.
4. No jargon, just value.
Nobody wants to wade through pages and pages of jargon. Your proposal should be a celebration of your ability solve your client’s problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. Most clients are hiring a freelancer because they don’t know the finer points of a particular area. As a freelancer in the field, you likely know much, much more. They are looking to hire an expert to get them results, not teach them in classroom.
All that really matters is bringing value to the business of a client. The goal of any proposal is to lead the buyer into an agreement to work with you. Adding the aforementioned items decreases the likelihood of converting the potential client due to sheer volume of information that is not relevant to the overall goal. Keep your proposals light and focused, and you’ll be converting job opportunities in no time.