Top Proposals Myths Debunked: Lessons from Picasso and Yoda

Rumors and trends tell you how to manipulate the customer to get that business proposal signed. We are here to tell you how to get that signature, while respecting yourself along the way.

Our team at Quote Roller is here to debunk those myths and offer you bare-bones advice to follow to make sure your business proposal stands out from the pack for the right reasons.

1. Low prices win more often

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Sometimes playing the numbers game signals the time to walk away. I Recently heard a rumored tale of Pablo Picasso.

Later in his life, he’s in a cafe in Paris and a cute waitress tells him how she’d love her very own Picasso. So he takes about five minutes and draws an abstract on a cloth napkin. She is so excited, jumping up and down, ready to take it out of his hand, when he stops her with three words: “10,000 francs, please.” She responds that it only took him five minutes to sketch. Good ol’ Pablo says that he had spent his whole life working up to this number and to lower it would risk everything.

Now, you’re not the Picasso of your sector… yet, but excessively lowering your price sure isn’t the way you’re going to get there. Your service has a value. Of course, numbers matter, but focus your business proposal on creating and reinstating your business’s value. We promise you’ll be more competitive explaining the specifically tailored services you’re offering a client, than being the lowest of the low. Furthermore, your market will thank you too, as low-balling ruins it for everyone.

2. Longer proposals win more

We all like to believe our mission statements are important. And they are – they help us understand our business better and, therefore, present ourselves to a client in a better way. It is important to consider your company’s direction and mission through all steps – bid decision, writing proposal letter and business proposal, negotiation and closing – but it is not important to tell your client. If your company stands for something, they’ll know it through actions, not words. Which means, leave all that bull out of your business proposal.

One of our team members once worked for a company that touted itself “The Place to Be,” meaning a great place to work for, always citing its ranking on various top 100 places to work in the U.S. listings.

Now, this is definitely something a potential employee likes to hear, making it an excellent thing to include in job offers and employee contracts. However, it was a silly thing to put all over their company’s web page and inside every sales package and business proposal letter. It detracted from their message of quality goods and services.

In other words, everyone likes to hear about themselves, not to listen to people bragging. Make your proposal geared towards your client’s goals and needs, not your own. Because nobody cares.

3. Only skilled pros can cash in on a deal

You know where you want to take your business, but you can’t get there without taking risks. You receive a request for proposal from a potential new client or from a recurring client who is asking for something not exactly in your wheelhouse. Don’t step away!

However, don’t get ahead of yourself and bite off more than you can chew either. Ask your team:

  • Is this something we want for our portfolio?
  • Is this where our company is headed?
  • Do we have the resources to complete this task?
  • Have we done something like this before, but in a totally different sector?
  • If your answers are affirmative, we say it can’t hurt to try.

Yoda do or do not quoteYes, as dear Yoda says, “There is no try, only do.”

But, if you manage your client’s expectations, being honest that, while you haven’t done something exactly like this before, you are a growing agency that wants to try and that you believe you have the creative power to do it, we say take the risk and send them a well-thought-out business proposal.

Now, this is where you may need to offer some sort of a deal, but, as long as your company is in the black, sometimes expanding your portfolio in the right direction makes it worth it.

Also in the don’t wimp out category lies your competition. Yes, we know it is harder to steal business away, especially if you are going up against a big design house with loads of resources, but we think, if you want the business and you have the time to offer a better, more personal service, go for it

Plus, using business proposal software allows you to send out more bids in less time. (There should be a shameless link to Quote Roller, but we think you know what to do 😉

4. Clients are stuck in 2000’s

Many people will say that proposal management software will distract from your message, that it makes everything too cookie cutter and will come off as impersonal. They’ll also say that using samples of proposal letters and proposal examples will come off as unprofessional and lazy.

We say it’s the opposite. Using proposal generation software allows you to have a professional design in an easy-to-read, interactive and traceable format. It also lets you and your far-too-busy team focus on the parts of the business proposal that really matter – addressing your clients’ needs.

Proposal templates allow you to come off as streamlined and professional, without all the effort. Plus, with the right sales tracking software, you can see what your client is spending the most time reading, to make your business proposal follow-up discussion and negotiation more informed.

Finally, we cannot stress enough that you want to make it easy for your business proposal to get signed. Since the invention of e-signatures, proposal software has made it super easy for clients to sign early and often.

Really, who wants to print out a Word doc, risk paper cuts and strained necks while reading through, and then have to sign and re-scan all the paperwork. Nowadays, for just about everything, the easier and sexier, the better.

Trust no one!

When it all comes down to it, there are rumors and myths galore, but doing what’s best for your company still can have the best results.

We are here to make your bid process easier, so you can spend more time on the creative part that guarantees your business’s success. In the end, when writing and sending out business proposals, follow your instinct and your teammates’ advice first. The rest is just gravy.


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