Let’s talk about proposals, and more specifically the timing and expectations around them, and three proposal pitfalls to avoid.

Like anything else new-business related, we’ve seen agencies that crank out proposals and some that agonize over every part of them.  Both have their issues.

If you’re cranking them out, they’re probably fairly cookie cutter and you run the risk of presenting a proposal that doesn’t speak to your potential client.

You agonize over them, you quickly succumb to analysis paralysis and you’re wasting hours.  It is tricky, but there’s a balance between the two. But I want to get into the circumstances that surround the proposal process from a new business standpoint.

And I’ll start with your first takeaway:  Don’t Treat Proposals Like a Race to the Finish Line

We had a client whose main goal in an initial prospect meeting was seemingly how quickly they could send a proposal over. If a proposal wasn’t sent after that first meeting, they didn’t feel like it was a success.

Of course you want to get to that proposal phase, but after one conversation, you probably don’t have all the information you need to see if there’s a fit, much less take the time to craft a proposal.

Of course sometimes you do know that quickly, it all comes together, and it makes total sense, but don’t force a proposal on a prospect.

Then you have a completely different example around timing.  Let’s say you’ve had a really solid conversation or string of conversations and the prospect asks for the proposal.  Fantastic, right?

But how many times has that happened, when you bust your ass on a proposal and then the prospect goes completely dark for 6 weeks?  Or never gets back to you?

One way to combat that proactively? When a prospect asks to send a proposal don’t tell them when you’ll get it to them-instead, put this second takeaway to use:  Ask them when they want the proposal.

Because if not you and the team will kill yourselves to get it over that day and then it sits on their desk for a week.

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Lee McKnight Jr
VP of Sales at RSW/US
I'm the VP of Sales at RSW/US. We specialize in working with services firms to help drive and close new business-if you need help with that, email me at lee@rswus.com. What I actually do: drive sales efforts to bring ad agencies and services firms on board with RSW, create content around successful new business tactics and help drive RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. Dig it.