What business proposal tips might help you get prospects to respond to your initial proposal? In this post, eight freelancers and consultants – many the “Best of 2017” in their skill categories in LinkedIn ProFinder — share what they do to get clients to contact them after an initial, one-page proposal. Of course, these proposal tips are relevant more broadly, too.
This post follows ProFinder Proposal Best Practices, published earlier.
BELINDA JOHNSON BERNARD Executive Job Search Consultant / LinkedIn Strategist / Personal Branding for Senior Talent in Retail, Media, Health & Beauty and Luxury Lifestyle Brands
• Speaking to a potential client’s personal problem is essential to open a conversation. I never, ever use a copy/paste template approach. Rather I create a personal and custom message for each project I respond to.
• I never “sell” or give offers/incentives (huge turn off). I share a bit of insight and solution into their problem and their specific industry.
• I keep it short! I work in a niche area of my industry and have become a specialist. I don’t try and be everything to all people.
KATHY CAPRINO Finding Brave™ Expert | Career Coach | TEDx/Keynote Speaker | Writer helping women build happier, braver lives & careers
• Tailor each proposal to show you’ve heard and understand clearly what the individual needs.
• Indicate the lowest price offer that you believe will help them achieve their goals. BUT don’t low ball it so much that if you get the client, you’ll resent how little they’re paying you.
• Include your website and email so they can reach out to you, and encourage them to do it, if they’d like to explore working together.
• Click the check-box for YES to your offering a 15 minute free Strategy Call. If they’re plunking down big money for you, they have the right to speak with you first to see if it’s a good fit. But, don’t go over 15 minutes. Build strong boundaries around your time.
• Include a few sentences that demonstrate more deeply who you are professionally and why you’re a great fit for them. For example, I include info on my writing on Forbes, my work with over 12,000 women around the world to build braver lives and work with greater success and impact, and my courses and resources, so folks can check me out in advance of speaking and get a sense of my style and approach.
• In the end, I like to view these proposals as a two-way street – to give the prospective client what s/he needs to be excited (or not) to move forward, and also enough info to filter out prospective clients who are not a good fit with how I live to work.
CARLA DETER LinkedIn Profiles | Resumes | HuffPost Contributor | Bios | Job Search Materials
Here’s language I use so as not to sound too pushy but more conversational:
Hello, thank you for the RFP. I’m interested in learning more about your goal(s). Let’s see if we’re a match.
I understand you are seeking assistance with a dynamic supply chain resume. We certainly have experience in that area and would be glad to provide an example. [Repeating their goal so they know I understand somewhat before the consult call happens where more clarity of goal happens]
We may very well be a good fit. Let’s chat. Do you have availability in the next day or so? [Call to Action]
– Thank you,
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I always provide the information to reach out – even if off the platform — and they do.
AUGGIE DIAZ LinkedIn ProFinder’s Best of 2017 Internet Marketing Consultant Digital Marketing Real Estate, Insurance, Local Business
• I show off a few of my skills and knowledge by offering a link to my Monthly Marketing Magazine, with tips for design and marketing. http://mymarkettools.com
MARJORIE KAVANAGH Named to LinkedIn ProFinder’s Best of 2017 Resume Writers | Architect of Confidence! | President, Panoramic Resumes
The key is to customize, be brief and make it personal.
• Address the prospect personally. For example, “Thank you for submitting your request for a marketing resume.” or “I am available to speak with you today.”
• Read and study what your prospective customer has communicated in the proposal.
• Communicate your understanding of their need, how you can help, and that you would love to learn more. Explain your experience or success in similar situations.
• Offer a free consultation – beyond the standard 15-minute time frame that ProFinder suggests. I typically state that my consultations are not limited to 15 minutes.
• Show how accessible you are. Provide your email and phone number. Offer immediate availability to speak with them or talk after work hours.
No fluff. No extra info to read.
ASHLEY MARTENS Writer | Health + Wellness + Fitness | Digital Marketer
• I reiterate the client’s need to let them know I completely understand their perspective and why they are making their request. Conveying “I understand your need and why it’s important to you,” is a great rule of thumb.
• I make my response all about them and their project. Although I do mention how I can help towards the end of my response, I keep my focus on the potential client, their project and why it’s important to them.
BRIAN WEIKE Graphic Designer, Creative Director, Marketing Director | Best of LinkedIn ProFinder, 2016 & 2017
• I definitely try to personalize the response. You can do a little searching within LinkedIn and find the requester of the project. Point being, I want to build the relationship straight away.
• I also put in a few examples of what I have done that are pertinent to the request. (previous websites or links to corresponding samples in my portfolio, etc.). I think this helps to ensure a solid understanding of the project they’re asking about.
• I may also mention that as a seasoned professional I will usually grasp the details of a project and move through everything more quickly than a less experienced designer.
TATIANA ZARETSKAYA High Conversion / Emotional Sales / Advertising/ Web Content / SEO Copywriter
• I urge prospects to reach out with more info for a precise quote after I intrigue them with my proposal. It can serve as a hook.
• I describe how my experience matches exactly what they’re looking for, with specific examples.
• I mention past client testimonials, case studies, certifications, accolades etc to solidify social proof and authority. To show them I’m not just some freelancer, I’m an expert. For example, “I’m LinkedIn ProFinder’s Best of 2017 which is la creme de la creme of freelance professionals.”
• It helps to mirror them by using exactly the word or turn of phrase as they used in their request. Builds trust and rapport.
• I end my proposal with some questions to create the conversation, interest in their needs, urgency, to find and press their hot buttons (motives) for buying.
• I finish with a strong call to action, even if it’s obvious they should write me back – still good to encourage them to.
Business Proposal Tips, Summarized
Here’s a summary of the business proposal tips from Pros to encourage your prospects to take the next step and explore working with you. Not all Pros will agree with all tips, but this is a consolidated list:
• Address the prospect personally & thank them
• Communicate that you understand
• Showcase relevant skills, point out related work to show fit
• Consider sharing a bit of insight to show industry expertise
• Keep the proposal short
• Indicate lowest price for their goals
• Ask a question or two to create conversation
• Re-emphasize the free 15 minute phone consulting
• Show that you are available by giving contact information
• End with a strong, inviting call to action to contact you to explore the fit and opportunity further.
Related Posts on Business Proposal Tips
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