Send Me a Proposal

Create Proposals That Win

I believe you should write a proposal after the client has decided to go ahead with the project.

—Jeff Thull1

Two bulky boxes land on the mailroom floor with a thud. The client cuts open the first box to find seven, five-inch binders bursting with a consultant's proposal. Sighing, he rips into the second box, resigned to finding more of the same. Instead, peering into the box, he spies several pieces of laminated wood and a plastic bag containing screws and bolts. The packet also includes the assembly instructions for the specially designed bookcase that the consultant thoughtfully provided for storing the voluminous proposal.

Sometimes it takes a bookcase full of binders to hold a proposal that meets a client's requirements; in other instances, a one-page e-mail will suffice. Whatever its dimensions, the consulting proposal is a powerful, yet misused marketing tool that often moves the selling process backward, instead of forward.

A great proposal can be a decisive factor in winning a project but it will not, by itself, secure the job for you. On the other hand, a poorly produced proposal can instantly unravel all the hard work you've done to persuade the client that you are the right choice for the job.

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