Creating Effective    Proposals       John A. Sexton, Ph.D.   Founder and Creative Director         Groupmind, Inc.
creative thinking, reimaginedWe help people create, communicate and collaborate more effectively,    in person and on the ...
heyjohnsexton.com@heyjohnsexton
heyjohnsexton.com    @heyjohnsexton#proposals
http://www.flickr.com/photos/usoceangov/6857446728/
What do you do?
Why did you start doing it?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/migulski/2273289856/sizes/o/in/photostream/
Need Moneyhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/migulski/2273289856/sizes/o/in/photostream/
Need Money                                                     Must write                                                 ...
Need Money                                                      Must write                                                ...
Need Money                                                      Must write                                                ...
Need Money                                                      Must write                                                ...
Need Money                                                      Must write                                                ...
Let’s vent.http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhilowitz/4351445649/
Bad proposals are        losing you jobs.http://i.huffpost.com/gadgets/slideshows/261745/slide_261745_1729771_free.jpg?135...
The Real Problem
The skills you develop by   doing the work you love......are not the same skills that help you get better jobs in the futu...
If we can understand   what causes a client toaccept or reject a proposal...then we can create proposals  that are more ef...
Estimates vs. Proposals
Estimates vs. Proposals
Estimates vs. Proposals       Estimates                Proposals    What, How Much         What, How Much, Why    Focused ...
Estimates vs. Proposals       Estimates                Proposals    What, How Much         What, How Much, Why    Focused ...
Estimates vs. Proposals       Estimates                Proposals    What, How Much         What, How Much, Why    Focused ...
Estimates vs. Proposals       Estimates                Proposals    What, How Much         What, How Much, Why    Focused ...
Estimates vs. Proposals       Estimates                Proposals    What, How Much         What, How Much, Why    Focused ...
Estimates vs. Proposals       Estimates                Proposals    What, How Much         What, How Much, Why    Focused ...
Estimates vs. Proposals       Estimates                Proposals    What, How Much         What, How Much, Why    Focused ...
Estimates vs. Proposals       Estimates                Proposals    What, How Much         What, How Much, Why    Focused ...
Effective Proposals
Effective Proposals
Effective Proposals      You                     Client   More wins         Understand their situation  Higher pay        ...
Effective Proposals      You                     Client   More wins         Understand their situation  Higher pay        ...
Effective Proposals      You                     Client   More wins         Understand their situation  Higher pay        ...
Effective Proposals      You                     Client   More wins         Understand their situation  Higher pay        ...
Effective Proposals      You                     Client   More wins         Understand their situation  Higher pay        ...
Effective Proposals      You                     Client   More wins         Understand their situation  Higher pay        ...
Effective Proposals      You                     Client   More wins         Understand their situation  Higher pay        ...
Effective Proposals      You                     Client   More wins         Understand their situation  Higher pay        ...
Effective Proposals      You                     Client   More wins         Understand their situation  Higher pay        ...
Effective Proposals      You                     Client   More wins         Understand their situation  Higher pay        ...
Effective Proposals      You                     Client   More wins         Understand their situation  Higher pay        ...
So how do we get to Yes?
Decisions, Decisions
Decisions are almost always  driven by Emotion.
• Demonstrate that they can trust you• Show the client you understand their needs• Be honest, be yourself
Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relationship-onion-people-and-brand-relationships/
Love       Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relationship-onion-people-and-brand-relationships/
LikeLove              Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relationship-onion-people-and-brand-relationships/
Approve       LikeLove              Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relationship-onion-people-and-brand-rela...
Indifference                      Approve       LikeLove              Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relati...
Distrust                                             Indifference                      Approve       LikeLove             ...
Web                                                                                          Designer                     ...
Clients want to trust you!Unfortunately, many of them    have broken hearts.
And other bad people are out there... just waiting to do it again.
It’s All About Them
Clients only care about you    to the extent that you canhelp them achieve their goals.         Embrace that.
Listen
Share your best ideas
OK.Enough with understanding stuff.       Give us tricks!
Get PersonalMake a personal connection   in your cover letter.
Get Personal    Make a personal connection       in your cover letter.Dear sir or madam
Get Personal    Make a personal connection       in your cover letter.                       Hi Katie,Dear sir or         ...
Compare CurrentSituation to Ideal Situation        Get them to imagine the gap     and show how you can help close it.
Compare CurrentSituation to Ideal Situation        Get them to imagine the gap     and show how you can help close it.    ...
Compare CurrentSituation to Ideal Situation        Get them to imagine the gap     and show how you can help close it.    ...
Compare CurrentSituation to Ideal Situation        Get them to imagine the gap     and show how you can help close it.    ...
Provide Data, But Not Too MuchJust enough to satisfy the rational brain that  seeks to justify our decisions with facts.
Provide Data,       But Not Too Much      Just enough to satisfy the rational brain that        seeks to justify our decis...
Give OptionsChange the conversation from“yes” or “no” to “which one?”
Give OptionsChange the conversation from“yes” or “no” to “which one?”          $10,000
Give Options    Change the conversation from    “yes” or “no” to “which one?”$15,000       $10,000
Give Options    Change the conversation from    “yes” or “no” to “which one?”$15,000       $10,000         $7,500 Reach   ...
Loss AversionReduce the price by taking things away.
Loss Aversion Reduce the price by taking things away.$15,000
Loss Aversion Reduce the price by taking things away.$15,000         $10,000              - Social Media          - Conten...
Loss Aversion Reduce the price by taking things away.$15,000         $10,000          $7,500              - Social Media  ...
Goal-Gradient EffectShowing progress that has already been made      motivates people to continue.
Goal-Gradient EffectShowing progress that has already been made      motivates people to continue.
Goal-Gradient EffectShowing progress that has already been made      motivates people to continue.                  Review...
Goal-Gradient EffectShowing progress that has already been made      motivates people to continue.                  Review...
Goal-Gradient EffectShowing progress that has already been made      motivates people to continue.                  Review...
Goal-Gradient Effect      Showing progress that has already been made            motivates people to continue.            ...
Goal-Gradient Effect      Showing progress that has already been made            motivates people to continue.            ...
Goal-Gradient Effect      Showing progress that has already been made            motivates people to continue.            ...
Make Accepting Easy   Explicitly spell out next steps &     Provide clear call to action.
Make Accepting Easy    Explicitly spell out next steps &      Provide clear call to action.1
Make Accepting Easy    Explicitly spell out next steps &      Provide clear call to action.12
Make Accepting Easy    Explicitly spell out next steps &      Provide clear call to action.123
Make Accepting Easy    Explicitly spell out next steps &      Provide clear call to action.123    Accept Proposal
More Proposal Writing Tips
Use simple language and   short sentences.
Keep the proposal short. 5 Pages or less is ideal.
Send the proposal quickly.     3 Business days.
Make it skimmable.  Use headings, subheadings, bullet lists & callout boxes, tobreak up long passages of text.
Focus on Benefits & Results for client.     “You get...”     instead of  “We will build...”
Give your proposal a     meaningful title.“Building a Modern Web Presence              for...”           instead of    “We...
Use a Branded Template for  layout and generic sections... ...but your proposed solutionsneed to be unique for each client.
Show your thought process.They are buying into you and your  process as much as they are        the final product.
Proffread
Proofreed
Proofread
FocusIt’s all about showing them howyou are uniquely suited to solve           their problems. Anything that doesn’t direc...
Questions from Twitter
Questions?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Laozi_002.jpg
getgroupmind.com@getgroupmind#proposalsheyjohnsexton.com@heyjohnsexton
Creating Effective Proposals — WordCamp Edmonton 2012
Creating Effective Proposals — WordCamp Edmonton 2012
Creating Effective Proposals — WordCamp Edmonton 2012
Creating Effective Proposals — WordCamp Edmonton 2012
Creating Effective Proposals — WordCamp Edmonton 2012
Creating Effective Proposals — WordCamp Edmonton 2012
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Creating Effective Proposals — WordCamp Edmonton 2012

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If would like to significantly raise your rates without spending months developing new technical skills, if want to land more, bigger, and better clients, or if you’re just tired of losing bids and not understanding why, then you need to improve your proposal writing skills.

An effective proposal demonstrates empathy for the client, establishes your expertise, and sets proper expectations for your relationship moving forward. It has more to do with communication skills than technical capabilities, deliverables, or price.

In this workshop you’ll learn strategies and techniques that will help you start crafting more effective proposals right away — and don’t be too surprised if what you learn also comes in handy on a date sometime.

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Creating Effective Proposals — WordCamp Edmonton 2012

  1. 1. Creating Effective Proposals John A. Sexton, Ph.D. Founder and Creative Director Groupmind, Inc.
  2. 2. creative thinking, reimaginedWe help people create, communicate and collaborate more effectively, in person and on the web. getgroupmind.com
  3. 3. heyjohnsexton.com@heyjohnsexton
  4. 4. heyjohnsexton.com @heyjohnsexton#proposals
  5. 5. http://www.flickr.com/photos/usoceangov/6857446728/
  6. 6. What do you do?
  7. 7. Why did you start doing it?
  8. 8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/migulski/2273289856/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  9. 9. Need Moneyhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/migulski/2273289856/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  10. 10. Need Money Must write Proposal :(http://www.flickr.com/photos/migulski/2273289856/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  11. 11. Need Money Must write Proposal :( Rush through Proposalhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/migulski/2273289856/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  12. 12. Need Money Must write Proposal :( Rush through Proposal Don’t win the jobs we really wanthttp://www.flickr.com/photos/migulski/2273289856/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  13. 13. Need Money Must write Proposal :( Keep taking on the same kinds of jobs Rush through Proposal Don’t win the jobs we really wanthttp://www.flickr.com/photos/migulski/2273289856/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  14. 14. Need Money Must write Proposal :( Keep taking on the same kinds of jobs Rush through Proposal Don’t win the jobs we really wanthttp://www.flickr.com/photos/migulski/2273289856/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  15. 15. Let’s vent.http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhilowitz/4351445649/
  16. 16. Bad proposals are losing you jobs.http://i.huffpost.com/gadgets/slideshows/261745/slide_261745_1729771_free.jpg?1352278486043
  17. 17. The Real Problem
  18. 18. The skills you develop by doing the work you love......are not the same skills that help you get better jobs in the future.
  19. 19. If we can understand what causes a client toaccept or reject a proposal...then we can create proposals that are more effective.
  20. 20. Estimates vs. Proposals
  21. 21. Estimates vs. Proposals
  22. 22. Estimates vs. Proposals Estimates Proposals What, How Much What, How Much, Why Focused on Price Focused on Value Persuades &Treats work as commodity Builds relationship
  23. 23. Estimates vs. Proposals Estimates Proposals What, How Much What, How Much, Why Focused on Price Focused on Value Persuades &Treats work as commodity Builds relationship
  24. 24. Estimates vs. Proposals Estimates Proposals What, How Much What, How Much, Why Focused on Price Focused on Value Persuades &Treats work as commodity Builds relationship
  25. 25. Estimates vs. Proposals Estimates Proposals What, How Much What, How Much, Why Focused on Price Focused on Value Persuades &Treats work as commodity Builds relationship
  26. 26. Estimates vs. Proposals Estimates Proposals What, How Much What, How Much, Why Focused on Price Focused on Value Persuades &Treats work as commodity Builds relationship
  27. 27. Estimates vs. Proposals Estimates Proposals What, How Much What, How Much, Why Focused on Price Focused on Value Persuades &Treats work as commodity Builds relationship
  28. 28. Estimates vs. Proposals Estimates Proposals What, How Much What, How Much, Why Focused on Price Focused on Value Persuades &Treats work as commodity Builds relationship
  29. 29. Estimates vs. Proposals Estimates Proposals What, How Much What, How Much, Why Focused on Price Focused on Value Persuades &Treats work as commodity Builds relationship
  30. 30. Effective Proposals
  31. 31. Effective Proposals
  32. 32. Effective Proposals You Client More wins Understand their situation Higher pay Good value Better clients Appropriate solutionLess wasted time Trust you can execute You are uniquely well-suitedto help the client achieve their goals.
  33. 33. Effective Proposals You Client More wins Understand their situation Higher pay Good value Better clients Appropriate solutionLess wasted time Trust you can execute You are uniquely well-suitedto help the client achieve their goals.
  34. 34. Effective Proposals You Client More wins Understand their situation Higher pay Good value Better clients Appropriate solutionLess wasted time Trust you can execute You are uniquely well-suitedto help the client achieve their goals.
  35. 35. Effective Proposals You Client More wins Understand their situation Higher pay Good value Better clients Appropriate solutionLess wasted time Trust you can execute You are uniquely well-suitedto help the client achieve their goals.
  36. 36. Effective Proposals You Client More wins Understand their situation Higher pay Good value Better clients Appropriate solutionLess wasted time Trust you can execute You are uniquely well-suitedto help the client achieve their goals.
  37. 37. Effective Proposals You Client More wins Understand their situation Higher pay Good value Better clients Appropriate solutionLess wasted time Trust you can execute You are uniquely well-suitedto help the client achieve their goals.
  38. 38. Effective Proposals You Client More wins Understand their situation Higher pay Good value Better clients Appropriate solutionLess wasted time Trust you can execute You are uniquely well-suitedto help the client achieve their goals.
  39. 39. Effective Proposals You Client More wins Understand their situation Higher pay Good value Better clients Appropriate solutionLess wasted time Trust you can execute You are uniquely well-suitedto help the client achieve their goals.
  40. 40. Effective Proposals You Client More wins Understand their situation Higher pay Good value Better clients Appropriate solutionLess wasted time Trust you can execute You are uniquely well-suitedto help the client achieve their goals.
  41. 41. Effective Proposals You Client More wins Understand their situation Higher pay Good value Better clients Appropriate solutionLess wasted time Trust you can execute You are uniquely well-suitedto help the client achieve their goals.
  42. 42. Effective Proposals You Client More wins Understand their situation Higher pay Good value Better clients Appropriate solutionLess wasted time Trust you can execute You are uniquely well-suitedto help the client achieve their goals.
  43. 43. So how do we get to Yes?
  44. 44. Decisions, Decisions
  45. 45. Decisions are almost always driven by Emotion.
  46. 46. • Demonstrate that they can trust you• Show the client you understand their needs• Be honest, be yourself
  47. 47. Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relationship-onion-people-and-brand-relationships/
  48. 48. Love Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relationship-onion-people-and-brand-relationships/
  49. 49. LikeLove Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relationship-onion-people-and-brand-relationships/
  50. 50. Approve LikeLove Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relationship-onion-people-and-brand-relationships/
  51. 51. Indifference Approve LikeLove Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relationship-onion-people-and-brand-relationships/
  52. 52. Distrust Indifference Approve LikeLove Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relationship-onion-people-and-brand-relationships/
  53. 53. Web Designer Distrust Indifference Approve LikeLove Inspired by: http://chasingthestorm.com/brand-relationship-onion-people-and-brand-relationships/
  54. 54. Clients want to trust you!Unfortunately, many of them have broken hearts.
  55. 55. And other bad people are out there... just waiting to do it again.
  56. 56. It’s All About Them
  57. 57. Clients only care about you to the extent that you canhelp them achieve their goals. Embrace that.
  58. 58. Listen
  59. 59. Share your best ideas
  60. 60. OK.Enough with understanding stuff. Give us tricks!
  61. 61. Get PersonalMake a personal connection in your cover letter.
  62. 62. Get Personal Make a personal connection in your cover letter.Dear sir or madam
  63. 63. Get Personal Make a personal connection in your cover letter. Hi Katie,Dear sir or It was great madam speaking with you Tuesday...
  64. 64. Compare CurrentSituation to Ideal Situation Get them to imagine the gap and show how you can help close it.
  65. 65. Compare CurrentSituation to Ideal Situation Get them to imagine the gap and show how you can help close it. Problem Statement
  66. 66. Compare CurrentSituation to Ideal Situation Get them to imagine the gap and show how you can help close it. Problem Statement Goals & Objectives
  67. 67. Compare CurrentSituation to Ideal Situation Get them to imagine the gap and show how you can help close it. Problem Statement You Goals & Objectives
  68. 68. Provide Data, But Not Too MuchJust enough to satisfy the rational brain that seeks to justify our decisions with facts.
  69. 69. Provide Data, But Not Too Much Just enough to satisfy the rational brain that seeks to justify our decisions with facts.100 75 50 25 0 2009 2010 2011 2012
  70. 70. Give OptionsChange the conversation from“yes” or “no” to “which one?”
  71. 71. Give OptionsChange the conversation from“yes” or “no” to “which one?” $10,000
  72. 72. Give Options Change the conversation from “yes” or “no” to “which one?”$15,000 $10,000
  73. 73. Give Options Change the conversation from “yes” or “no” to “which one?”$15,000 $10,000 $7,500 Reach Best Value Budget
  74. 74. Loss AversionReduce the price by taking things away.
  75. 75. Loss Aversion Reduce the price by taking things away.$15,000
  76. 76. Loss Aversion Reduce the price by taking things away.$15,000 $10,000 - Social Media - Content Strategy
  77. 77. Loss Aversion Reduce the price by taking things away.$15,000 $10,000 $7,500 - Social Media - WordPress - Content Strategy - Internets
  78. 78. Goal-Gradient EffectShowing progress that has already been made motivates people to continue.
  79. 79. Goal-Gradient EffectShowing progress that has already been made motivates people to continue.
  80. 80. Goal-Gradient EffectShowing progress that has already been made motivates people to continue. Review Proposal
  81. 81. Goal-Gradient EffectShowing progress that has already been made motivates people to continue. Review Review Proposal Prototypes
  82. 82. Goal-Gradient EffectShowing progress that has already been made motivates people to continue. Review Review Project Proposal Prototypes Complete!
  83. 83. Goal-Gradient Effect Showing progress that has already been made motivates people to continue. Review Review ProjectFind us! Proposal Prototypes Complete!DONE!
  84. 84. Goal-Gradient Effect Showing progress that has already been made motivates people to continue. Fill out Review Review ProjectFind us! questionnaire Proposal Prototypes Complete!DONE! DONE!
  85. 85. Goal-Gradient Effect Showing progress that has already been made motivates people to continue. Fill out Review Review ProjectFind us! questionnaire Proposal Prototypes Complete! YOU AREDONE! DONE! HERE
  86. 86. Make Accepting Easy Explicitly spell out next steps & Provide clear call to action.
  87. 87. Make Accepting Easy Explicitly spell out next steps & Provide clear call to action.1
  88. 88. Make Accepting Easy Explicitly spell out next steps & Provide clear call to action.12
  89. 89. Make Accepting Easy Explicitly spell out next steps & Provide clear call to action.123
  90. 90. Make Accepting Easy Explicitly spell out next steps & Provide clear call to action.123 Accept Proposal
  91. 91. More Proposal Writing Tips
  92. 92. Use simple language and short sentences.
  93. 93. Keep the proposal short. 5 Pages or less is ideal.
  94. 94. Send the proposal quickly. 3 Business days.
  95. 95. Make it skimmable. Use headings, subheadings, bullet lists & callout boxes, tobreak up long passages of text.
  96. 96. Focus on Benefits & Results for client. “You get...” instead of “We will build...”
  97. 97. Give your proposal a meaningful title.“Building a Modern Web Presence for...” instead of “Web Design Proposal”
  98. 98. Use a Branded Template for layout and generic sections... ...but your proposed solutionsneed to be unique for each client.
  99. 99. Show your thought process.They are buying into you and your process as much as they are the final product.
  100. 100. Proffread
  101. 101. Proofreed
  102. 102. Proofread
  103. 103. FocusIt’s all about showing them howyou are uniquely suited to solve their problems. Anything that doesn’t directly support that must be cut out.
  104. 104. Questions from Twitter
  105. 105. Questions?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Laozi_002.jpg
  106. 106. getgroupmind.com@getgroupmind#proposalsheyjohnsexton.com@heyjohnsexton

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