Since I spent most of the month meeting potential clients and preparing project proposals, I wanted to share some insights on how to gather information and what to include in a sale proposal.
1 –If your elevator pitch was good enough, you will probably schedule a first meeting with your prospective client. After this meeting, your team should have all the information and documentation on the client’s project to produce a concise project proposal. You should keep the following in mind:
• Be attentive and original, make sure you understand your client’s needs, think outside the box when you design your proposal.
• Be thorough when taking notes during the conversation. Prepare a questionnaire that includes all you need to know about your client’s business and technological needs. The better you are prepared for the first meeting, the more efficient you will be and the better the impression you will leave on your client.
2 – Be transparent when writing the project proposal. Make sure your client understands every detail in it. You want your client to trust your approach and to make them feel the proposal on its own brings the project one step ahead.
• Avoid overly technical terms; weigh your words and stick to language they are familiar with. If you can, include illustrative examples to help clarify complex parts of the proposal. This will also make the document easier to read and refer back to.
• Make sure you justify every step in the proposal. If your client feels he/she is being overcharged, you risk losing that sale.
3 – When you operate a small company, you want to make sure that your clients are serious. To dilute the risk, share it with your client. One good way of doing this is to request a down payment when the contract is signed.
• If the customer pays up front, it’s a good sign that he/she trusts you. The down payment serves as a guarantee to you from your client.
• Don’t be over-zealous, the amount of the down payment should be just enough for the client to be sure to remain committed to the project, and not so high as to scare him/her off before signing.
4 – Don’t forget to include the Terms & Conditions in your contracts. Make sure you know your terms and conditions and that they are clear to your customers!
Your project proposal is perhaps the first document you will hand to your client and it plays a key role in the outcome. The way you describe your work process, the logic behind your pricing strategy and the language you choose to address your client will make all the difference when it comes to a new client in your portfolio, or in your competitor’s.