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A proposal that wins business

What is your proposal success rate? If you are a partner in law, accounting, an engineering firm, or any practice that involves selling intellectual property, tracking your proposal success rate is critical.

You can use a simple formula. The number of winning proposals divided by the total number of proposals submitted in a given period – weekly, monthly, or annually. The leading experts have more than 90% proposal success rate.

Writing a proposal is an investment. It costs time, money, and imagination. You don’t want to send a proposal to every small opportunity that you here about. You don’t want to send many unsolicited proposals. You want to increase your odds of success. To do so, the following process is recommended.

Meet the prospect first.

Identify your target customers. Profile them very well. Determine the decision-maker at the target company or the people who have a significant influence on the decision-makers. Know their interests, causes, and games they love or places they frequent. Hint: anyone who has final approval for money to be spent, is a decision made.

Because such people control money, it is not easy to get to them at their place of work. So many gatekeepers – security guard. Receptionist. And their personal secretary. And their peers. All these people will want you to go through them. Such gatekeepers can easily say no (anyone can refuse your idea). The right person is the one who can say yes or no.

Know the needs of the real buyer.

The real buyer is always looking for innovative solutions. If you get close to them and they understand your value, you will instantly get the deal.

On 15th June 2019, I met a CEO at a conference. I told him about how I have just helped another CEO craft for them a clear strategy that is natural and therefore, easy to implement. He liked the word “natural” and said can you come over to my office and tell us about a ‘natural’ strategy. He instantly called the person he addressed as Jane, “I am here with Mustapha. Add him on the agenda for our Wednesday meeting.” And also, I received a notification for the presentation to their senior management team.

If you want to increase your proposal success rate, don’t send ‘cold’ proposals. First, warm them. Try as much as possible to have contact with the real buyer. Know their expectations and what winning means to them. Then send a proposal. You will get the deal.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, Mr. Strategy. 2019. All rights reserved.

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