Win New Consulting Business: The Four Keys to Writing a Successful Proposal

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  • 1. 1 WIN NEW CONSULTING BUSINESS: THE FOUR KEYS TO WRITING A SUCCESSFUL PROPOSAL ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 2. 2 MODERATOR STEVE ARHANCET Director of Consultant Services ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 3. 3 ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 4. 4 WEBINAR CONTROLS The full screen icon maximizes the presentation area. The chat box allows you to send a question to the presenter. ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 5. 5 ABOUT SPEAKER “America’s foremost practitioner of proposal writing” – American Management Association Dr. Tom Sant • Co-founder of Hyde Park Partners • Over 25 years experience • Areas of expertise: proposal writing, presentation delivery, communication management • Author of 3 books • Named ―One of the ten best sales trainers in the world ‖ by ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. Selling Power Magazine • tsant@hydeparkpartnerscal.com©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 6. 6 THE FIRST QUESTION… What is a SUCCESSFUL PROPOSAL? ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 7. 7 THE VOICE FROM THE BACK OF THE ROOM… ―ONE THAT’S DONE!‖ ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 8. 8 MAYBE A SLIGHTLY HIGHER STANDARD? How about: ―ONE THAT WINS!‖ ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 9. 9 AND TO MAXIMIZE THE CHANCE OF WINNING? It’s a matter of delivering the right message the right way. ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 10. 10 WHAT IT’S NOT… Price Quote Product Spec Company History Commodity Self-centered ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. Transaction, not a solution©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 11. 11 Unfortunately, Those approaches are pretty typical. For example, does this look familiar? ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 12. Albion Technologies Recommendation for an Integrated Communications and Collaboration Strategy 15 September 2012 L. J. Fremmer Account Manager
  • 13. IntroductionsThe Albion Team: • Thomas Martinson – COO, EMEA • Peter Campbell – Regional Relationship Manager • Jim Thorslev-Slater – Regional Technical Manager EMEA • Sallie Mae Park – Proposed Account Director • Nigel Bentley–Transition Manager EMEA © 2012 ALBION, Inc. All rights reserved
  • 14. Who is Albion? An $11 Billion Global IT services company that builds, integrates and supports applications and infrastructures for business and government • More than 80,000 employees • NYSE: ALBN- Headquartered in Liverpool, England • 85 Offices in 50 countries • Leader in communications infrastructure implementation and support, government solutions, and higher education solutions • Distributed Delivery Framework – Domestic development centers – IT Operations outsourcing – Offshore development and support • ISO 9001 certifiedGlobal Strength, Local Touch © 2012 ALBION, Inc. All rights reserved 14
  • 15. Welcome to “A World of Innovation” More than 85,000 Employees Represented in more than 50 Countries Provisional Revenue 2011: USD 11.5 billion Operating Margin 2011: 8.5% Growth 2011: 15% Gartner Magic Quadrant 2009, 2010 Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, China & Hong Kong, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark & Greenland, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA © 2010 ALBION, Inc. All rights reserved
  • 16. Delivering Leading Edge Solutions Innovation leader since 1994 Over 1,000 Clients World Class Consulting Experience Uniquely Qualified in Service Offerings to our Clients State of the Art Technology Solutions 16
  • 17. Blah, blah, blahdee, blah Me More about me Something else about me Do you love me yet as much as I love me?
  • 18. 18 HERE’S A DISTURBING FACT… Nearly 1/3 of all sales proposals and pitches start with the vendor’s company history. Why??!! ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 19. 19 ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 20. 20 THE GRIM REALITY Proposal writing is hard. Business owners, sales people, marketing professionals, and proposal writers often look for a quick way out. ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 21. 21 ESCAPE ROUTE #1 Cloning previous proposals Cutting and pasting can result in embarrassing errors! ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 22. 22 ESCAPE ROUTE # 2 ―Data Dumps‖ or ―More is Better!‖ Nobody buys based on the ―thud factor.‖ ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. If it’s not meaningful to the customer, leave it out!©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 23. 23 ESCAPE ROUTE # 3 Talking about what we know and love best. ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. Focus on your prospect, not on yourself!©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 24. 24 EXECUTIVES EXPECT A DIFFERENT MESSAGE Peer-to-Peer * Outcome Oriented * Bottom-Line Focused Information Evaluation Persuasion Expert Comfort Zone Highly informed Somewhat Persuasion informed Zone ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. Lay©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 25. 25 THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS… 1. No focus on the client’s business problems and payoffs 2. No persuasive structure 3. No clear differentiation 4. Failure to offer a compelling value proposition 5. Key points are buried--no highlights, no impact 6. Difficult to read--full of jargon, too long, too technical 7. Credibility killers--misspellings, grammar errors, wrong client name, inconsistent formats, etc. ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 26. 26 WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU COMMIT THESE SINS? You lose. ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 27. 27 FOUR KEYS TO BETTER PROPOSALS WINNING MORE, WORKING LESS ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 28. 28 1 Get a NOSE Job 2 Pack Your Case Proposing to Win 3 Show Me the Money 4 A KISS for Luck ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 29. 29 GET A N-O-S-E JOB ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 30. 30 THE RIGHT NOSE CAN HELP YOU WIN ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 31. 31 STRUCTURE IS THE SECRET TO MAXIMIZE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING Present the right information Present it in the right order Create the right impression ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 32. 32 WHAT DO WE MEAN BY THE “RIGHT ORDER”? Consciousness is intentional. We focus on finding specific content, depending on our purpose: • Getting the facts we need • Obtaining an expert opinion • Making a decision ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 33. 33 The Persuasive Paradigm THE STRUCTURE OF PERSUASION •N Needs: The customer’s key business needs, problems, issues, pains, or opportunities: the drivers behind the deal. •O Outcomes: The positive impact that will come from meeting those needs: the motivation to move forward. •S Solution: A recommendation for a product or service that will solve the problem and deliver the outcomes •E Evidence: Proof you can do the job on time and on budget: your differentiators. ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 34. 34 PACK YOUR CASE ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 35. 35 OUR JOB… Create a specific, client-centered business case that answers the client’s three most important questions: Am I getting what I need? Is it good value? Can they really do it? ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 36. 36 PEOPLE BUY FROM PEOPLE THEY TRUST CxR T = S Where: T = trust C = credibility R = rapport S = risk of self-serving behavior ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 37. 37 SELLING ON TRUST CxR T = S Where: T = trust C = credibility R = rapport S = risk of self-serving behavior ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 38. 38 SELLING ON TRUST CxR T = S Where: T = trust C = credibility R = rapport S = risk of self-serving behavior ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 39. 39 ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 40. 40 WHY DO RAPPORT AND CLIENT FOCUS MATTER? The Primacy Principle The Principle of First Impressions ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 41. 41 WHAT KIND OF FIRST IMPRESSION ARE YOU MAKING? • Title— ―Proposal‖ • Initial focus? • Your name or the client’s? • Are you pushing a product or “Don’t waste my time with proposing a solution? a bunch of boilerplate!” ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 42. 42 SEVEN CLIENT-CENTERED QUESTIONS 1. Client’s problem, issues? 2. Why is it a problem? 3. Desired outcomes? ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 43. 43 FOUR AREAS OF GOALS Business / Financial Budgetary compliance Personal goals Profit improvement Downsizing Mergers / acquisitions Market share Reduced risk Better clinical outcomes Social goals Technical / Internal infrastructure goals - Improve morale Introducing best - Reduce absenteeism practices - Decrease turnover Adding flexibility External Improving QC - Gain public support - Win approval ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. - Enhance recognition©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 44. 44 SEVEN CLIENT-CENTERED QUESTIONS 1. Client’s problem, issues? 5. Potential solutions? 2. Why is it a problem? 6. Probable results? 3. Desired outcomes? 7. Why are we the right 4. Most important? choice? ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 45. 45 SHOW ME THE MONEY! ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 46. 46 FACT: WITHOUT VALUE, WINNING IS JUST LUCK. You must establish superior value based on technical, contractual, managerial, quality, or service differentiators, Or the customer will choose based on PRICE or may choose to do ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. NOTHING©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 47. 47 SMART BUYERS DO LOOK FOR POSITIVE IMPACT • Revenue generation • Operational efficiency • Reliability of mission-critical operations • Quality • Worker productivity • Customer satisfaction • Regulatory compliance • And other key performance indicators ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 48. 48 THE VALUE PROPOSITION (Values - Costs) > (Valuea - Costa) Where: Values = the value of your offering Costs = the cost of your offering Valuea = the value of the next best alternative Costa = the cost of the next best alternative ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 49. 49 FOUR PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE VALUE 1. Make sure the client cares 2. Measure it 3. Picture it 4. Link it to your differentiators ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 50. 50 COMMUNICATING VALUE THAT HAS VALUE Differentiators Proof What you do that Verifiable claims no one else you make about does. yourself. What you do Value Claims your clients differently from Proposition make about you. anyone else. Third-party evidence. Value That Has Value. ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 51. 51 A KISS FOR LUCK ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 52. 52 KISS: KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE The first principle of persuasive writing: Do not confuse the reader. Live by the “first time right” rule. ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 53. 53 FOUR PSEUDO-LANGUAGES TO AVOID Fluff Guff Geek Weasel ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 54. 54 Fluff: 1. Grandiose claims 2. Vague generalities 3. Clichés 4. No proof ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 55. 55 FORGET THE FLUFF! Here are a few examples…. Anything look familiar? World class High performance Best of breed Synergy Leading edge User friendly State of the art Integrated Quality focused Partnership Uniquely qualified Seamless Innovative Robust ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 56. 56 Guff. Guff: 1. Long sentences 2. Too many big words 3. Too much passive voice ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 57. 57 Geek: 1. Disregard for the audience 2. Overuse of jargon and acronyms 3. A focus on technical details instead of business fit or impact ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 58. 58 AVOID THE WEASEL! Weasel: 1. Unnecessary use of weasel words 2. Hyperqualification of every statement 3. Passive voice 4. Subjunctive constructions ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 59. 59 WEASEL WORDS ―can be‖ ―might‖ ―helps‖ ―could‖ ―may be‖ ―enable‖ ―allow‖ ―up to‖ ―like‖ ―virtually‖ ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. ―significantly‖©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 60. 60 Fi ve ways to a chieve clarity: ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 61. 61 Five ways to achieve clarity: 1. Short sentences 2. Short words 3. Passive voice ≤ 10% 4. Readability index ≤ 10 5. Minimal jargon and acronyms ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 62. 62 LET YOUR WORD PROCESSOR DO THE WORK ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 63. 63 1. Short sentences Average sentence length 15 to 17 words per sentence is a good average ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. sentence length.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 64. 64 2. Short words Average word length in characters 5 characters or less means your words probably ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. aren’t too long.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 65. 65 3. Passive voice ≤ 10% Percentage of passive voice ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. Keep passive voice below 10%.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 66. 66 4. Readability level ≤ 10 Readability Scores Aim for a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level index ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. of 10 or less.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 67. 67 5. Minimal Jargon and Acronyms ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved. Ask your mum.
  • 68. 68 IN SUMMARY… 1  Get a NOSE Job 2  Pack Your Case Proposing to Win 3  Show Me the Money 4  A KISS for Luck ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 69. 69 WANT TO LEARN MORE? • EMAIL US info@mbopartners.com • VISIT OUR WEBSITE www.mbopartners.com • FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @mbopartners • SIGN-UP FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION • Receive updates for upcoming webinars - email webinar@mbopartners.com ©2012 MBO Partners Inc. • Sign up for our Independent Consulting Brief at newsletter@mbopartners.com©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.
  • 70. 70 THANK YOU www.mbopartners.com http://www.mbopartners.com/blog https://www.facebook.com/mbopartners ©2012 MBO Partners Inc.©2012 Tom Sant. All Rights Reserved.