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Business Proposal Writing: Don't Fall Into The Trap!
In business, there is a question that no sane person wants to hear: “Could you write me a proposal?”
Proposals are traps, ways to build up and break down dreams. Sound dramatic? It’s not. In many cases, writing a proposal is a waste of your time and effort. According to Tom Ranseen, of NoSpin Marketing, there are three reasons why proposals are known as traps:
1. They waste precious time that could be used looking for other prospects or providing other productive work to current clients.
2. They give pricing/packaging information to mere tire-kickers and then to the competition. You just become a number standing in line without a dance partner.
3. They give you a false sense of security that you’re doing something positive and productive in your sales process-that you’re busy and making progress-and maybe that’s worst of all.
Does this mean that all proposal requests are useless? No—what it does mean is that you have to be able to choose which are worth your time and which aren’t. Below are tips to help you make that choice:
1. If a potential client wants a proposal but has not given you a clear idea of what they want/need and do not seem able to make up their minds, the best advice is to pass.
2. Is the potential client shopping around, or looking into other prospects? A part of you will want to create proposal just to solidify your abilities ; however , be careful: a client who is unable to choose companies may not be worth the effort it takes.
3. Did your potential client demand a proposal right away? In most cases, the quicker a proposal is demanded, the more likely the client is to back away. Watch for impulsiveness.
4. Is the client unwilling to talk to your directly to review the project and /or proposal? This typically boils down to indecision or wavering interest. It is best to pull out while you can and not waste time.
5. Ask the important questions before accepting the offer to write a proposal. Make sure that the client is qualified to carry through with their plans. Are they committed? Are they financially secured? The worst thing you can do is have a client who loves your ideas but simply can’t afford them or commit to them.
6. Use common sense. Take all things into consideration before writing a proposal; it will save you time and allow you to devote your abilities to other projects.
The proposal trap is a common one in business; many hours have been wasted and many dreams shattered after falling into it. Take the time to review these suggestions and learn when to write a proposal and when to walk away.
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