Win More.
June 21, 2011 | The Whetstone Group

We talk about your competitive edge a lot. It’s in our tagline, our brand promise. Ever wonder what we’re talking about? How about an example: think about increasing your proposal win-rate and getting a higher return on your time invested in proposals. Now that’s an edge over the competition! So let’s talk details — take a look at our five sure-fire ways to improve proposals and increase win-rates:

  1. Start with the prospect’s needs — don’t even begin writing the proposal until you have a meeting, phone conversation, or at the very least an email exchange to make sure you know what the prospect is looking for, including both services needed and desired service attributes. Start your proposal document by restating these needs – you’ll set your proposal apart from the others and let the prospect know you’re listening!
  2. Talk benefits  — many of us in the professional services industry love to talk about what we do. How effective is that in proposals if your prospects don’t understand what’s in it for them? Of course you have to describe how you’ll meet the prospect’s needs, but don’t stop there —  state clearly what result you will bring to the prospect, what will improve in their business, what problems you will solve for them. And even better? Quantify the benefits you’ll deliver when at all possible.
  3. Differentiate — ever notice when you’re looking at your competitors’ Web sites how similar they all sound? It can be tough to differentiate in a competitive market, but if you don’t — you’re competing on price and price alone. What makes you the right choice for the prospect? What are your strengths vis-à-vis your competitors’ vulnerabilities? Don’t be afraid to point these out directly — but professionally — in your proposal.
  4. Deliver the proposal in person — Don’t email, mail, or even just drop off your proposal if at all possible. Schedule a face-to-face meeting with your prospect to go through the document and highlight the important elements — this is the only way to make sure your prospect sees all those benefits and differentiators you worked so hard to incorporate!
  5. Follow up — If the decision date passes, don’t give up. Continue to follow up, offering to help with the decision process or answer any questions that have arisen. The extra effort will let your prospect know they’d be an important client to your firm and just might tip the decision in your favor.