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Sadly, for far too many service professionals proposal writing is a “hope-and-pray” game. They sit down with prospects, chat for a while and then volunteer to “submit a proposal”.
In the traditional proposal process the project is not accepted until the proposal is signed. However, there are some problems there.
Not every buyer is ready to buy. Some are just ruthless tyre kickers collecting free information from kind-hearted souls. Some prospects will drag you along, milk you for free information and in the last moment drop out.
Compare it to a bullfight: The matador puts up the red cape and the bull charges. After the spectators have received enough excitement and the bull is dead exhausted, the matador elegantly pulls a sword out of the rolled-up end of the cape and stabs the bull in the heart.
Now let us look at you in the “bullfight”: Prospects entice you for a great project you start working in order to get the gig. After prospects got all the information they were looking for and you are dead tired after dispensing all that information, prospects tell you they are not interested and you can get lost.
Now, here is something. When is it easier to receive that no? Before or after you have spent time, effort and energy to draft your proposal? As you will learn, a proposal – like a marriage certificate - is a short document, but it is silly to offer it unless there is a mutual commitment to go ahead.
So, to make life easier for you, it is a lot easier not to write proposals unless prospects make a commitment to work with you.
You may now say this is silly and nobody works with you unless they know what they get. Well then, think of airport terminals and plane flights. The terminal tells you where the plane is flying to and what terminal it is leaving from and the approximate departure and arrival times.
And you basically make an investment and buy your ticket based on these two pieces of information. All the rest can change as you go along. They do not tell you how many times the driver will change gear, how many times the plane will stop at red lights or at flight channel congestion, or how many times the pilot has to call AA to fix a flat tyre.
A proposal is the same. It is a strategic - big picture – document. The tactics come later and they can change on a dime as necessary.
So let us look at the seven typical mistakes service professionals make regarding proposals.
Organisational Provocateur Tom Bald Dog Varjan works with service professionals who are frustrated selling their top notch services at competitive(ly low) fees. You find several special reports, over 65 indexed articles and his monthly newsletter for service professionals on his website at www.di-squad.com.
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Article Submitted On: August 22, 2004
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