Converting proposals is key to growing and surviving. Since most of the time agencies are under insane deadlines, most people don’t put much attention into it until it’s too late. The fact is, every agency loses an average of 25-percent existing business each year. This is not their fault but this is the average churn rate over the last 30 years.
This only makes it more important that you convert as many proposals as you can. You worked so hard getting the client to contact you and invite you to do a pitch, why would you ease up now?
The cover letter — 35 percent of your work
One of the most important parts of a proposal is the cover letter. Do you know that over 35 percent of proposals are not read past the first page? I treated the cover letter as a landing page where I had to get their attention to read further. It’s where you have to convince the reader to keep reading.
In the cover letter you need to do the following:
Explain that you understand their problem and you have proposed a solution.
Quickly explain what you are about and why you do it.
Ask them for feedback and encourage them to ask questions.
Make sure the cover letter is brief, under a page.
Next stop: Executive Summary
After the cover letter, I would immediately dive into more details and go through the executive summary:
What is the primary focus of this proposal?
Explain to them that you have researched and engaged in meetings to discuss their goals and requirements.
Tell them about your experience, building confidence in being able to deliver.
Define the estimated time it will take for the project.
You’re building them up and getting them to believe you are right for them.
Show how you will deliver
After the executive summary, I would dive into the deliverables. Depending on your business, I would categorize services into sections. I categorized them into creative services, marketing, and technology.
Be very descriptive in each. If you are talking about web design.
Tell them about your methodology so they understand the process.
Add images where possible so not text heavy, but do not get carried away.
List out all the deliverables. ie. How many versions or pages they will get, etc.
List out services that they may have not asked for but that could be a good compliment. Label that session: Optional services.
Next, I would summarize all the deliverables and services. Make sure to list all the services in almost a ledger style with the name and price. I would also recommend to categorize this into sections as well as one time fees and recurring fees like hosting and SEM. This method makes it easy for the client to understand.
After you tell the client the services you are going to do, you can know starting talking about your company and why you exist, awards and the people that will be involved on the project. You are trying to let them get a good understanding of your company and culture, because people do business with people that like and get along with.
Close that contract
Lastly, is the contract session. Most people separate the proposal and the contract but I always wanted to have everything together to make it easier for the client. Easy for them to executive the proposal.
If you want to learn even more ways to increase your proposals, check out Jason’s free video on how his company converted 80 percent of his proposals.
In 2011, he was lucky enough to have his agency acquired and then just 7 months later got acquired again by a public company.
Jason’s goal of developing http://www.jasonswenk.com, is to provide the secrets and tricks that provide immediate actionable steps you can do right now that will make a difference in your business.