Best Practices for Proposals
Lesson thirty five in this segment is called best practices for proposals which we've already talked about a lot of best practices but this is specifically how to stay out of the black hole how to get people to respond once you've submitted your proposal how to submit the proposal in a way that isn't just sending it out into the either or the internet internet so first of all my highly recommended suggestions here are that you present your proposal in person be a skype or in real time or on the phone I don't care how you do it obviously in person is better, but the benefit to presenting it in person is that you get to have a conversation about it right and a part of I think what happens when you send it off? Is there so much anxiety over what are they going to think? What are they going to say? What are they not going to understand? But if you say this is how I do it, my process is I present the proposal on the phone you can do it through go to webinar you could do with through go to m...
eeting there's so many technical options for how to do this, but you just make it clear that this is your process and you explain if necessary that you're going to have a conversation about it you're going to be able to respond to their objections and by the way, you're not going to tell them this, but it'll give you an opportunity to close the deal. We're gonna be talking about that in the next segment, but if you don't, if you just send it out there and hope for the best, you don't have an opportunity to close the deal. You don't have an opportunity to know what is not clear to them, so again, I want to say this is not always possible people will not always say yes to this, you sometimes have to push a bit and say, you know what it's really important and here's, why so please if you could spare ten minutes, I would love to walk you through my proposal really important all right, now, sometimes it isn't possible or sometimes even when you present your proposal, then you're waiting for the answer like colleen was talking about she's waiting to hear about the proposal, did she get it now? A couple things I want to say. First of all, often, when a client says we're going to be making our decision by friday, they don't usually do it write other things happen and maybe they put it off maybe the ceo said, this is not the most important project, maybe they're still waiting for other people's proposals and you were told friday and you're waiting for a dump friday and you don't hear from them and what do you do you assume you didn't get it automatically people assume they didn't get it so my first piece of advice is please stop doing that don't make assumptions don't assume anything and follow up it's really important to follow up with the proposal number one to make sure they got it right if you weren't able to walk them through it you want to make sure that they actually received it I would not assume it was received or that it was noticed is very important because with technology with email with all of this clutter you want to make sure that they actually got it so sometimes they though when you do your follow up they may not respond has this ever happened to anyone ok good so we're in the right place so I've put together four reasons why they don't respond because this is a huge problem I hear about all the time and in the chatroom let's also hear from people about silence basically what about this silence not only just in terms of proposals but also in terms of marketing but I think in terms of proposals especially this happens a lot so why don't they respond number one they may not have the information yet they don't know yet and they don't make the time or have the time to tell you that they don't know the answer to your question all right so that is one thing that may be happening maybe they haven't made a decision yet they're still deciding they think a decision will come down soon and sometimes I know this happens to me I wait to respond to someone because I don't no, I don't yet have the right answer or the answer for this person and I don't take the time to say I'm sorry I don't know yet so this is similar to they don't know yet but there's no decision and they're waiting for that decision so keep in mind that that may be what's happening again don't assume you didn't get it sometimes though they just have no courage silence it seems has become the de facto no they've made a decision it wasn't you it's a young clueless person they don't know how to tell you they don't know how to say no and they just never you never hear from them again this happens in everything that doesn't it yes these days I'm still waiting for a pilot show that I did to you I haven't told me no right? So just know that sometimes the silence isn't the fact I know but you won't know when it is and when it isn't so I encourage you not to make assumptions and that means you might be you might need to do a little bit more follow up you might need to say just tell me yes or no. I need to know so I could move on because really you want the note so you can move on. This is not rejection. Even kind of yes. Same. Just wondering. Should you include expiry dates on your on your proposals? Yes, actually, you should, um, you should have a date by which this price is not valid anymore. It could be three months. It could be one month. It could be a year. I have a lot of clients doing that lately thinking about bringing that adam. Absolutely. Because that is what happens, right? Perhaps a project got put on hold and they did. I tell you, your pilot is probably on hold and then when they come back to you, you're going they're going to want to pay the same thing and you're going to say sorry. The price went up and you won't be able teo, especially if you didn't put an expiry date on it. So that's a great suggestion. Do you do that? I should do it through quote, roller sets of expired and reminds on their proposal is about to expire if, like a day before so that's great, excellent okay and number four of the reasons that they don't respond is that they don't have the power the person you're in touch with may not be the decision maker it's out of their hands there's nothing they can do and they're usually embarrassed by that lack of power so they don't respond to you now there are things you can do about this fight my suggestions and these are not solution's necessarily but there are things you can do to not be so passive to not be the one waiting to hear you khun number one practice the golden rule in general don't be a person who is unresponsive it's so easy to not respond it's so easy and we I think it's easy to justify in our minds why we didn't respond but it's so courteous I know courtesy isn't really that popular these days, but it is so courteous to actually just say sorry I can't respond to you right now right? Just to let someone know that you got their message to me this is actually one of the things that can make you stand out in all situations and say I am a responsive person that makes you professional so I would not have given to the degradation of the technology of the culture by being a person who is not responsive and then also along those same lines reinforced the behavior that you want repeated like a parent thank people who respond for responding that way they know that it's important to you all right, so a few best practices and then we'll new do another one of these. What would you do if say so? As we talked about you going to broach the topic of money early so that in your proposal process it's not the first time they see the numbers you're on ly going to do proposals when you have a good chance of winning that proposal or if you've got some spare time and you want to practice the process and you never know what can happen if you do that with that relationship. So that's a good reason to do it also, don't forget to close the deal. We're gonna talk about this in the next segment, but that is something that people put out their proposal and then they wait and they don't take some of the actions to close a deal that they could and always get a deposit. I have a little story here, actually from a client that I was working with earlier in the week, and, uh, she was in the process of negotiating a project, which I thought wasn't going to be paid very well, but she needed the money, so she was willing to do it and she understood the situation and she wasn't going to ask for a deposit. And so I worked with her and I encouraged her to ask for a deposit and she did and the response he got back was what you don't trust us you don't think we're going to pay you and she came back to me and she said what do I say and I said to her you tell them you cannot afford to work for free you can not work you cannot afford to work without being paid I mean that's essentially what someone is asking you to do when you don't get a deposit they have not made any investment and you are investing your time and then you're going to be paid at the end that just makes no sense so always get a deposit all right what would you do if if you spent a lot of time and effort working on a proposal for a project that you really want and you haven't heard from them since you sent it and they were supposed to have decided last week what do you d'oh dana I call you call you pick up the phone and depends again who it is but if I come out of the phone do you pick up the phone? Yes, I say that because so few people pick up the phone lately all right and I'm not gonna hold you to it it's fine I just want to make my point which is that there is this email habit that a lot of us have and it's almost like a rut. I think that we get into and there are certain situations where a phone call is the most appropriate and meaningful way of communicating. And if you don't stop and think, wait, what a phone call be the best thing right here, right now, even if you don't reach them, even if you get voicemail, they will hear your human voice with the tone and everything, and you will make the point that you make it will be taken so much more seriously. So the answer of reaching out? Yes, of course. And I would say probably with a phone call, just in the first thing that comes a moment if I really want the project and it means a lot to me, I would actually print out the proposal and put in fedex it to their their office with a hand written note. So it's, like, I really want this send a red balloon with it, tio something catches their attention. The idea of I really want this. I think we're a good fit and you're doing something to get their attention. Absolutely. Then add anything. Zane yeah, probably also pick up the phone, but also used to, like boomerang what's that which is a plug in for google chrome with that kind of constantly sends them email until you get a risk constantly well it's not constantly it's kind of reminds you tio send an email reminds you to send an email yeah, it doesn't constantly email them no yeah, that would be adjusting you know all about the technology technology you have all these tools that's great. Excellent. What are people saying in the chat room? Well, I want to bring this up actually, because of quite a few people have brought this up particularly they've done proposals for government or indeed larger corporation on chris himself is just commented here is well because he's been in an agency in the path is that dreaded word r f p where they there is a sense that really I mean, they bid it out because they have to particularly governments they have to get forbids but they have no intention of using any of them. They're quite happy with the vendor they got but that's just their rule and corporations tend to do that for purchasing too. How do you avoid getting into that trap if you like or not getting frustrated that you were simply just providing material so they made up the numbers uh I have clients who have a policy where they don't do r f peace in fact, my second most recent podcast uh, that was posted a couple of weeks ago is an interview with a client who has decided she's not doing our piece anymore and so that's one option the other option is really if you can have any communication with them to be able to assess whether that's the situation and if not, obviously you're not going to do it. It's a waste of your time, you know, I mean, it may not come to you as an artist are being you may not know that you're being big just for the sake of winning. No, you won't now you won't know, and so in that case, I would just not do it, and your time is much better spent proactively seeking the clients you want rather than the mirage. This is why I showed that image of the mirages like, but it's there, I just know it's there you don't even know it's there. I think some people have bad experience, but I think these will always happen. I'm not sure how this is avoidable, but they will take your proposal, they will turn you down, but they'll still take all of the work that you did. I mean that's just fortunately rotten fact of life sometimes well, when you say the work that you did, are you talking about doing work on spec? No, I mean, you may put it'll the ideas, I mean, their specific circumstances where you may put a lot of ideas out there and you say, and then this is what I will do. You no is that area during the research, but you didn't get a yes, and I would be very careful with that, and also very careful with that. So all the notes about the winning proposals, uh, that I've just gone over are in the workbook, and the exercise is here, the questions, what was the most painful silence you've dealt with? What might have been going on? And how might you respond differently based on what you've learned? So again, what was the most painful silence? Maybe something recent that you've dealt with? You were waiting to hear from someone and maybe you still haven't heard we might have to talk about your pilot, jae ko, what might have been going on and how might you respond differently based on what you've learned? And he went on the couch? Yeah, I mean, I've been in situations where I've put a lot of work and effort into creating a proposal than winning the proposal and going in and pitch, presenting the idea. And then just having to deal with like company politics and not having it go through and just such a delay that thing best me that's why I don't really enjoy working with large government agency with large corporations go to the politics and it's just big waste of time it can be a camera and you don't control it you don't know what's happening anyone else? Painful silence, maybe not that's good. Are there people in the chat room with question that came in from a pot spartan other people voted on this? Can you give some advice on how to approach the deposit conversation when you are dealing with an existing climate? You've never are the one before. So, um with my clients, actually, I tell them to say, I'm working with a consultant now, and she has advised me to do this right blame it on me, you can blame it on me, whether we're working together or not, frankly, but another option is to say, especially at the beginning of the year, right? This is january, I have new policies for twenty, fifteen or whatever the year is and here's what I need to dio you can say, I'm growing my business, you know you can give an excuse, you don't have to give an excuse, but you can say, you know, this is new and um and again it's not an ultimatum it's not you have to do this or we're not going to work together but I think people will respect it and if they can comply they will now share line is asking how do you handle rounds of changes in the project his value prices that part of the conversation it should be yes and if its value priced then probably as many rounds as they want is what they get now p children this is a very interesting question I was quite unprofessional on a proposal I sent a few years ago in that I never followed up what is the best way to approach that client again so this is similar to what we were talking about in session to write it's never too late and you can go back and say I mean they may not remember number one that you did or didn't follow up so you made it may not be to your benefit to refer to it but we haven't been in touch since that proposal and I would love to reconnect and do you have anything coming up? I wouldn't emphasize I wouldn't call attention to it because they may not have even noticed that it was a problem or actually you can ask whatever happened with that did you ever do that project because maybe they didn't maybe it's still on the table good point never know alright so wrapping this up in the extra goodies bundle, I have to really important things for you to share. And so this is at the bitterly link slash command fees. Case sensitive. Emily, a client, has shared her proposal template. All right, so this is different from the samples in the proposal. Bundles. This is an actual template. It has some headings and greek language, right where the actual words are that you would be that you would put in there, but it's, this wonderful, simple structure for a basic proposal so that's in the goodies bundle. And I also have a pre proposal question. Checklist. The questions you need to ask before you do a proposal.