But you had great rapport when you met, you can deliver exactly what they need, everything seemed to align, but when you sent in the proposal you got a “thanks but no thanks” response.
It sucks doesn’t it!
So why does it happen?
It’s easy to convince yourself that it’s because they don’t value what you do, or your price is too high for them, or, my favourite one, they weren’t the right kind of client.
But I really doubt that’s the case.
When I see my clients having these type of problems I always ask to see their proposals and invariably the issue is that they’ve missed a vital bit out of it.
The bit they miss out is the context. The “why” the prospect needs you to help them, and the “what” they want to achieve by having your help.
Why does that bit get missed out?
I think it’s because you cover it when you are having the initial discussion (if you don’t then you really need to!) and then assume you don’t need to remind them of it in your proposal.
But here’s the thing….if you don’t remind them of their pain and what they want to achieve all they will see is a big fat bit of cost sitting without any context.
What does that trigger…a no!
It’s very easy to make yourself a commodity
When you remove the context for their buying decision it’s easy to make what you do look like a line item on a commodity menu rather than a valuable piece of work.
I’m sure you don’t want to be a commodity.
Commodities are subject to discounting and I’m sure you don’t want pressure put on your pricing (especially as you are probably under-valuing yourself anyway!).
All it takes is putting that context into your proposal. It really is that simple.
But what if they want a quick price?
Even a request for a quick price should still include a quick chat on why they need you to do the work, and how it fits in to their overall objective and so on.
Think of it this way…
Your proposal has to do the job of a sales meeting.
If anything it has to do an even better job as you didn’t close the deal in the sales meeting and yet you expect your proposal to close the deal for you.
You wouldn’t go into a sales meeting and straight away say “Hi”, the price is “£x,000, so have I got the project? so don’t make your proposal do that either!
This is really easy to sort out and can have a dramatic impact on your conversion rate.
(Ideally you don’t want to rely on your proposal to do the selling for you at all but that’s a whole other blog!).