If you’re a vendor, there are lots of ways to lose business opportunities. Here, some free advice on how to make sure your proposal remains at the bottom of the stack at decision time:
1. Don’t ask questions to try to clarify, and draw out, what the client really wants and needs. Just slam out that proposal and cross your fingers that you hit the mark.
2. When you cut-and-paste from prior proposals that you’ve submitted to other companies, be sure that you leave the wrong company name in once or twice. Also, bad grammar and misspellings are recommended to help assure the client that you are, indeed, detail-oriented.
3. Take whatever off-the-shelf stuff you have, or prior approaches that you’ve taken, and re-package it. Clients appreciate a lack of creativity and thought.
4. Either include so little detail that no-one can tell what you’re actually proposing, or make the proposal so dense with boilerplate lingo and excessive detail that no-one can stand the process of considering you.
5. By all means, spend no time on attractive graphics that easily summarize your solution in an at-a-glance, 30,000-foot fashion. Most clients have tons of time to process a myriad of words and come up with summaries themselves.
6. When presenting the budget, don’t give any breakdowns. Also, be sure not to present creative alternatives, options, and different levels. Just try to get clients locked into one big round number.
7. Don’t listen. Clients are not as smart as you, and they need to remember that.
If you follow this advice, you’re sure to succeed. At helping others win the business.