What Not to Do When Building a Proposal

Your client seems to like the solutions you’ve discussed. The price fits his budget. You’ve even managed a bit of witty repartee. But once you send your proposal his way, all you get is silence. What went wrong?Sometimes, a badly put together proposal keeps you from winning new business. Avoid these mistakes when working with potential clients.

1. You Didn’t Do Your Homework
Proposals aren’t one-size-fits-all. No two clients have exactly the same set of issues or business history. It’s your responsibility to research the company you want to work with to understand its unique situation, and address it within your proposal. Poor research can be a turnoff to a company who is looking to invest a sizeable amount of money in your services. After all, what does it say about your quality of work?

2. The Proposal is Sloppy
If you’re too busy thinking about the money this project will bring in, you might not pay enough attention to putting together the proposal. Typos, incorrect information and slapped-together visuals will be enough for a potential client to decide instantly that you’re not the company he wants to hire. Take the time to review the proposal to ensure accuracy. Spend time making it look appealing. It will be time well spent.

3. Your Pricing Isn’t What You Agreed Upon
Sure, sometimes the price you quote in a conversation isn’t accurate. That’s understandable. But if you quote one price in a conversation and another price in your proposal, the client is going to have some questions. Make sure you address them (“Once I looked at the scope, I realized we hadn’t allowed for X in our original discussion.”). And keep your pricing consistent across all clients. It’s not fair to charge double for one client simply because you think you can. You never know who talks about you to other clients.

4. You Don’t Include a Cancellation Policy
This is one that can come back and bite you, well, you know where. If you work on a contract that is, for example, six months or a year long, you should include a stipulation in the event that your client wants to end the contract early. Set a fee or percentage of the remaining contract that will be required, should the client bow out before the agreed timeframe is over.

5. You Don’t Have a “System”
If you’re throwing together proposals and don’t have a set format that you use, you might have trouble keeping up with what agreement you made with which company. Have a template that you use (QuoteRoller has some great ones you can customize) that includes your company policies (see #4), as well as what you require of the customer. This will help you stay organized by having the same policies and proposal components across the board.

Your proposal shows potential customers that you know what you’re doing. Your goal is to illustrate the solution you can provide a client, as well as protect yourself. Let QuoteRoller make your proposals dummy-proof and more professional.  Sign up for a free account today.

Photo credit: uvw916a.


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