Getting YES to Your Proposals

I thought my proposal was great; I researched, interviewed key players and am convinced I addressed the organization’s needs. But, I didn’t get the job. I again missed getting the project when I thought I had the inside track. What did I do wrong?

What the prospect SAYS they want is not always what they REALLY want. The best way to uncover the REAL need and write the winning proposal is to:

  1. Make sure you know who the REAL decision maker is. More often, there’s only one who actually is the “Button Pusher” – the one who can say yes and write the check (Economic Buyer).
  2. Meet or connect with the “Button Pusher”. Even if you have to do it by phone if the ultimate decision maker is not geographically available.
  3. Ask the decision maker this KEY question: “When the engagement is a success, what does the end look like?” Know and understand their expectations with a description of the end results in their own words. Avoid generalities and seek specifics.
  4. Repeat back (NOT summarize or recap) what you heard. This allows the Button Pusher to reflect back on what was said and to add or correct. It verifies how to word your proposal’s list of deliverables, and when possible using the exact words you heard.
  5. Know who the informal leaders are. During your research work, identify and more importantly, win over the informal leaders. These key players (perhaps User or Technical buyers) can also act as Coach and help your bid if asked for their opinion.
  6. Write your proposal to include phrases, actions and outcomes provided by the decision maker and the informal leaders.

TIP:Uncovering the true motives behind decisions will hone your proposal winning skills to include REAL needs and expectations rather than good guesses. Remember, the prospective client wants to know the actual results and specific expectations you will meet rather than what you know or how you will do it.

Thanks to IMC USA member Lawrence Bassett CMC for sending in today’s tip.


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