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Consulting Proposals: Bad, Good, and Very Good
From:
David A. Fields -- Sales Growth Expert David A. Fields -- Sales Growth Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Ridgefield , CT
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

 

You write good proposals. I know this because yourconsulting firm wins consulting projects.

You could write better proposals.

I know this, too, because your consulting firm loses someconsulting opportunities and some of the projects you win are smaller than theycould be.

Let’s say you’ve been chatting with Herbie Handsmacker, the dexterous CEO of Clapper Enterprises, about a potential consulting project. He asks you to shoot him a proposal.

Perfect. This’ll be easier than devouring a pain auchocolat!

(As an aside, combining flaky dough, butter and chocolateshould be illegal.)

Let’s unravel your consulting proposal and see if we canimprove it.

For today, we’ll ignore everything other than what mattersmost: the story your proposal is telling Herbie.

All consulting proposals tell a story.

A typical consulting firm’s proposal follows this narrative:

  1. Here’s what we think is important aboutourselves.
  2. We’ll do these specific tasks for you.
  3. Here’s some evidence that we’re really, reallyawesome.

That story is entirely upside down, self-serving and, overall, pretty poor. So, why can a consulting firm win consulting projects with it?

Because most other consulting firms follow the same narrative, and because a strong enough relationship with the decision maker masks the proposal’s deficiencies.

You can do better.

The first step toward winning Herbie’s heart (and wallet) emerges when you start thinking Right-Side Up. Specifically, you realize…

Your proposal isn’t about your consulting firm and whatyou can do. It’s about the client and what they will achieve.

Shifting your story to be about the client gives you a hugeadvantage over any competition (including inertia and internal staff). Now yourstory is:

  1. You, Clapper (or Herbie), have a problem.
  2. Imagine a beautiful future without that problem. (a.k.a. Nivrana)
  3. We can get you there.
  4. Here’s why we’re the very definition of awesome.

Now Herbie is reading about himself, not you, and the futureyou’re promising him is enticing him to hire your consulting firm.

Don’t stop reading yet. You can elevate your proposals from good to very good.

When a prospect declines your proposed consulting engagement, usually an objection over fees or some other concern is to blame.

As a result, proposals that speak to your prospect’s concerns and the value of success will generate more wins. What does that story sound like?

  1. You, Clapper (or Herbie), have a problem.
  2. Imagine a beautiful future without that problem. (a.k.a. Nivrana)
  3. Here’s the value of reaching Nirvana (to Clapper and to Herbie).
  4. You’re concerned about this ‘n that.
  5. We can get you there. (We’ve got your concerns covered.)
  6. By the way, we’re the bees’ knees

That’s a darn, strong proposal story and you’ll boost yourclose rates when you utilize it.

Surprise bonus for readers who’ve made it this far:

The Best Proposal Story

One more tweak to your story enables your consulting firm to leap from winning more projects to winning better projects:

Present alternative bundles of scope and terms and, very importantly, explain why your alternatives add value for Herbie.

  1. You, Clapper (or Herbie), have a problem.
  2. Imagine a beautiful future without that problem. (a.k.a. Nivrana)
  3. Here’s the value of reaching Nirvana (to Clapper and to Herbie).
  4. You’re concerned about this ‘n that.
  5. We can get you there. (We’ve got your concerns covered.)
  6. Here’s why an alternative bundle is even better for you.
  7. Our alternative bundle.
  8. Here’s why our final alternative generates humongous value for you.
  9. Tada – the pinnacle of consulting projects.
  10. (Optional section: By the way, we rock.)

This Right-Side Up story leads Herbie on a journey thatcalms his anxieties, stokes his desires, and elevates his vision.

It’s a simple format that will win the Clapper engagement, supersize your consulting firm’s bottom line, and fund a pallet of pain au chocolat.

Are there other story elements you like to include in yourproposals?


 
Managing Director
Ascendant Consulting, LLC
Ridgefield, CT
203-438-7236