Creating an Effective Business Proposal
A good business proposal is often the key to gaining new clients. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Gather Your Information
In the initial stages of putting together your business proposal, you should gt as much help and information as possible. If you are a bundle of nerves and don’t know where to begin, see if you can get together with someone who has successfully conducted or created the sort of meeting or report that you are looking to put together. It may be worth you while to find consultant in your area who specializes in helping clients with successful business proposals.
Putting Your Proposal Together
After a brief but informative lead-in paragraph wherein you present your prospect with what you see as his or her needs and problems, you will want to focus on the solutions that your product or service will provide. Don’t go overboard by promising anything that you can’t deliver, but do focus on the benefits that your client will enjoy as a result of doing business with you.
Be sure to include and emphasis any details you have about how your service is better than that of your competitors. If, for instance, you have a history of staying within budget and hitting your deadlines, and you know that your client has had some trouble with vendors hitting those marks in the past, go ahead and toot your own horn a little bit. You will want to be sure that you are not overly hyperbolic here, just stay within the facts and you’ll be fine.
If it is appropriate to present endorsements or testimonials from previous clients, then go ahead and do so, as it is one of the best ways that you increase your credibility. Also be sure to mention any awards you have won, or positive press you have received. Again, you want to make your presentation more about the benefits your client will receive than about how wonderful your company is, but you should feel free to include as many third-party accolades as you tastefully can.
If possible, bring something that your audience can see and feel (such as samples) that show your business’ ability to successfully complete the task in question.
One of the oldest tenets if presenting is to know your audience. If you are pitching your wares to a room full of software engineers, use as much of their specific jargon as you can without appearing to patronize. It is a difficult line to walk, but the more you can show that you understand their world and issues, the more comfortable they will be working with you.
Leave Them With Something.
As suggested above, you should bring samples of what it is that you produce if at all possible. Another great idea is to put a booklet together that attractively presents the information you are looking to convey in a form that your prospective clients can easily sift though, and will want to hold onto. A nice document bound with color coil and including clear, colorful charts and graphs and perhaps some engaging photos may be the sort of thing that separates you from the pack.
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