Diana of SMO asked about informational versus persuasive proposals. Here’s my answer from contractor and customer jungles.
1) Life begins & ends with a contract
2) Contracts are won with a proposal
3) Purpose of a proposal is to secure a contract
However, we’re blind.
3 Mysteries in the Universe
There are three mysteries in the universe:
- Water to a fish
- Air to a bird
- Mankind to itself
Swap “contractors” for mankind and there’s our problem.
We’re blind. We’re focused intently on our own businesses. We don’t see that customers don’t care as much about us as we do.
When a customer asks for a proposal, we fall over ourselves telling them about our gloried past and informing them of our exciting future. We’re so proud, we dump it all into our proposal responses. We can’t help ourselves.
Customers Don’t Care?
Of course customers care about contractors, but only in context. Only as contractors impact their businesses, their jobs, their stress levels.
The Law of the Customers’ Jungle
1) Customers have problems
2) Customers have goals
3) Customers need solutions to solve problems & achieve goals
4) Customers seek contractors to provide solutions, that solve problems & achieve goals
5) Customers select contractors based on proposals that show the best solutions, that solve problems & achieve goals
The New Math
Proposal = Written solution that solves customers’ problems & achieves goals + proof contractor can deliver + $$price$$
The Secret to Persuasion
It’s about customers. Not surprised I’m sure. Also, not showing up in contractors’ proposals either.
A customer buys what a contractor is going to do for them, at their sites. They don’t buy:
- Contractor’s annual revenue
- Number of contractor’s employees
- Number of years contractor has been in business
They only buy what that specific contractor will do for them at their specific sites.
That Persuasion Thing
For a contractor to persuade a customer, the customer must read in the contractors’ proposal that the contractor understands the customer’s specific problems and goals.
Only then will a customer consider the contractor’s proposed solution. And that solution must tell customers specifically â€œwhoâ€ is doing â€œwhatâ€, â€œwhenâ€, â€œwhereâ€ and â€œhowâ€.
The final piece the customer must see is “can the contractor deliver on their proposed solution”? This is where the contractor trots out their proof points.
At last a customer sees a contractor who knows what’s needed, has a plan, is capable of delivering, and has a price attached to value.
Sounds easy. It is in theory. As you know, the real challenges begin when a competitive opportunity arrives, then all kinds of craziness joins in.
Are Your Proposals Informational?
Is your company history at, or near the front? If it is, you’re likely informing customers. You’re vulnerable to contractors with persuasive proposals.
If you’d like a FREE proposal assessment, contact me and I’ll be happy to review your proposal and provide our feedback.
Technorati tags: contract sales, proposal writing, RFPs