Eliminating the Pain of Proposals, Presentations and Price-Setting

In my earlier days as an Executive Coach, I used to write proposals for potential clients who wanted me to come in and deliver leadership training to their managers.

When you’re looking at how to sell services, proposal writing can be a very tedious process and can also be a huge waste of time if the client chooses not to move forward. Then there’s the whole price-setting thing where we often try to customize the pricing and this adds to the tedium of it all. Sometimes we get as far as making a presentation to the decision-makers only to be put on hold while they take months to decide if they’re actually going to buy.

Here’s are 3 key tips on how to speed up the process and cut-out the tedium and time-wasting aspect of writing proposals, doing presentations and price-setting in these situations.

A must-have BEFORE you write anything

The biggest mistake I see in writing proposals and presentations to a prospect is the business owner has no clue what the prospect’s decision-making process is. So before you write a single word in a proposal or presentation, ask one very key question to your prospect: If we do a proposal and you agree that this is exactly what you were looking for, what would happen next?

You would typically find out things like:

* whether they’re even ready to make a decision right now (and if they’re not, why bother spending time on a proposal OR you realize this is not a rush)

* who is truly the decision maker in which case you’d want that person involved from the start or find out what the key decision makers would need to know to make a decision.

* how long it may take to reach a decision – so you’re not caught off guard.

Another key question, by the way is along the lines of a needs-assessment. Before drafting any proposal, you’d want to be sure you truly have a deep understanding of the true needs of your prospect. You’d want to build that into a powerful proposal or presentation.

Setting Your Pricing

It may seem really considerate to customize your services to each client, but my guess is if you take a look at all the work you’ve delivered to this point, there’s not a whole lot that’s different. So rather than customizing to each client, sit down and evaluate the history of what you’ve delivered so far. I’m willing to bet you’ll discover a trend in the types of services you provide.

So based on the trend you see in your history of client work, try presenting, say, only 3 choices. A low end offering (your lowest price), a middle level offering and a high end offering (your highest priced offering). And when you present your offer, present it with confidence. Share that your packages are based on what they’ve shared as their key problems and needs.

For example, when I did Executive Coaching, I had 3 options: workshop only, workshop plus group coaching, and workshop plus private individual coaching for a certain number of managers. That was the trend I saw when I reviewed the “customization requests” I was receiving.

Proposals/Presentations based on set packages

As mentioned above, 3 levels of offers are typically fine. You could have more (say 5 or so) depending on the type of services you provide. The beauty of having set pricing and packages is you can also have set proposals and just do very minor tweaking to the specific problems identified by your client.

This would save you a whole lot of time on the proposal-writing part. But remember, avoid jumping into the proposal-writing phase without first understanding the needs of your prospect and also the decision-making process.