More on How to Write a Proposal

how to write a proposal

Before you send your proposal, take one more close look. Is the only quantifiable element the cost of your solution?

In the spirit of my other thoughts on writing proposals:

Writing a Project Proposal Outline
When to Write a Project Proposal
Before you Send That Proposal. . .
Decision Making and New Business Project Proposals

I am adding one more element. If the cost of your solution is the only measurable element in your proposal, how will your prospect calculate ROI? In other words, if the only element of your proposal is I, the Investment, how will they determine R, the Return on that investment?

Last week I was inserted into a sales process that was stuck. This firm wants help with a significant proposal, that if accepted, stands a chance of making a real difference to the client’s bottom line and helping my client get a foothold with a regionally recognized organization. We sat to review the sales process from moment one, proceeding through each step in order to find a place/reason for me to be introduced to the client in order to get the process un-stuck and moving, either to a yes or to a no. Staying stuck helps no one.

As I listen to the business development team recreate the events leading to today, I begin to idly flip through the proposal. In the back of the proposal, after the description of the client’s situation and their goal, tucked in between the recommended options and the payment terms, is a tidy little grid. In that grid is the investment to implement the solution. It stands out.

I flip back to the goal section. Mixed inside the bullet points of valuation is one line representing the expected dollar value return from implementing the recommendations.

“How do you think the client will describe the value of your solution?” I ask.

The discussion begins but quickly turns back to the bullet points in the proposal.

“Let me ask it another way, when this proposal was presented the first time, just by looking at it, do you think it would be easier for them to describe the value of your solution or for them to describe the investment you’re asking them to make?”

My point is this: In an ROI calculation, when a client can only see the investment and has to hunt for the return on that investment, they get stuck. Why? Because investment without a return is a cost, and as we know, the cost is always too high.

In your proposals, make the Return as easy to identify as the Investment.

Good stuff.