What? You must be kidding! How can you make any money without writing proposals? Well you can and you will receive more deals and save time. How many times has a potential client said, “Just submit a proposal and we will get back to you”? This happens more times than not especially when people are shopping services. When the client requests a written proposal they are saying one of two things. “I don’t want to commit right now or I want to use the proposal to shop for a better price. Either way most of the time you lose. I wouldn’t even make a face to face appointment until you have qualified the prospect over the phone.
There is a better way
After getting the information needed about the project and qualifying the client to be sure you want the job many times the client will request a written proposal. If you want the job ask the client what they have in their budget for the project. Most of the time the client will resist this because they are afraid if the provide a budget of $5000 you will come in at $4,995. Many times they will say “We don’t really have an established budget.” “We just need to know how much it will cost and then we will make a decision”. Answer with something like “I understand completely but to save you and us time it is important to make sure we can provide the quality of service(s) requested at a fee you can afford”. Offer a broad budget range something like. “Based on what you have requested we are probably looking at somewhere between $750 and $1,200”. “Is that within your budget?” (The lower figure should be closer to what you expect the quote should be) If they commit then you can proceed with a proposal that states “Based on your budget we will provide the following. . . . .” If they think it is high then you may want to move on or ask again what budget were they thinking. if worth your while you can discuss what you can privide at the lower budget. What does this accomplish? First, you will know if they are shopping or serious about using your services. Second, you will know if they can afford to use your services. Third, you will save a lot of time, travel and expense submitting written proposals that are really just bids. if they are serious about using your services they will provide at least a ball park number and then you can either come in under budget or list the services at their budget and explain that if they want the additional services you can always adust if they can afford.
Our Company Requires Written Proposals
Answer with something like “Are you looking for bids to compare or are you ready to get started right away?” If they say they are shopping bids I would ask them the criteria. “Are you shopping best price or best services?” They most likely will say best services at best price. Tell them to get back to you with their best bids and if you can beat the prices with your quality services you will be happy to provide a bid. The bottom line is you don’t want to waste time with shoppers! Let the other companies do this and you take the clients that are serious about quality.
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Write an Evaluation
If you feel confident about getting the sale and if the client absolutely wants something in writing you could offer an evaluation to contain everything discussed during the qualification conversation. Outline what work you propose and include the budget spread they agreed to (example: $750 – $1200 based on selected services). You could also add that a firm quote will be provided once your company has been selected and that the quote may be more or less based on their selected services. Doing this keeps you in the mix and also gives the client something in writing.