When you’re in business, there are several times when you may be faced with writing a proposal to get something you want. Maybe you have an idea for expansion, but need some extra funding so you’re looking for investors. Or, perhaps you deal a lot with government contracts and have to submit a proposal in order to be considered for the job.
Regardless of your circumstance or need, there’s nothing worse than taking the time to put together a lengthy proposal only to hear that it wasn’t accepted or approved. To keep that from happening to you, here are four tips to consider.
1. Put it in the right format
Generally speaking, if you’re submitting a proposal at the initiator’s request, they’ll often give you the exact format they want you to follow. Though you may be tempted to bypass this and create your own, showing your creative side, failure to follow instructions may cost you the contract. Therefore, you’re better off submitting it exactly as they asked, even if you think that your format is better.
If there are no guidelines for creating your proposal and you’re new to creating one, the basic business proposal format involves first having a title page, table of contents, and executive summary. Next, you want describe what the problem or issue is, how you intend to solve it, and why you’re the right person for the job. The last part of the proposal should clarify the details, such as how long you expect it to take, projected costs, and any other information that can help them make their decision.
2. Send it to the right person
If you want your proposal to be considered, then you need to get it in the correct person’s hands. If you don’t, you risk that it will just sit on someone’s desk, where it will remain unseen. When submitting a requested proposal, the initial post may say who it needs to go to. If it doesn’t, or if you’re sending a proposal without being prompted, you can always call the organization and ask for the proper person’s name.
Oftentimes, email is the quickest way to get your proposal into their hands. Not sure what the email address is? One way to get it is to verify the email address using tools such as Norbert. This can save you a ton of time since you won’t have to search on your own. Not to mention, the person may be even more impressed with you because you took the time and effort to find it on your own.
3. Remember that it’s not about you
One major mistake that a lot of business owners make when crafting proposals is making the request all about them. They talk about why they want their business to grow, what they’d do with the money, and so on. However, taking that approach isn’t likely to inspire a ‘yes’ because all the person reading it is likely thinking is, “What’s in it for me?”
To craft a proposal worthy of a resounding ‘yes,’ it needs to list all of the benefits that will exist if the person accepts it. In other words, if the person agrees to your proposal, how will it make their life better? Get them to envision themselves saying ‘yes,’ and their lives being improved because of it.
4. Make the ‘yes’ process as simple as possible
Have you ever had someone ask you for a favor, only to later realize that what they want you to do is more in-depth than you originally thought? That’s not the type of experience you want to create for a potential investor or client, which is why you should strive to make the ‘yes’ process as simple for them as possible.
For instance, instead of asking them to make time to meet with you to sign the finalized proposal and acceptance, you could speed things up using an electronic signature application. This way, they can do their part when it fits in their schedule best, reducing the need for one more meeting being added into their already busy calendar.
When you do these four things, your proposal is more likely to get a ‘yes.’ In business, that’s the best word you’ll ever hear.