Does your design proposal leave that everlasting impression with your prospective client? In this article we discuss the Key Components of a Winning Proposal.
Have you ever thought it may leave them confused and scratching their heads?
They may not understand something or be fully clear on what you are offering them.
This will more than likely turn them away as they wonder if working with you is the right decision.
It may seem trivial, but having an impressive proposal that clearly articulates the value you offer, your quoted fees, that is easy for clients to understand and agree to, can be the difference between gaining or losing that potential client.
In this article we take a look at the key components of a winning proposal.
Table of Contents
Looks and Reads Professional
It’s quite underwhelming for a prospective client to receive a word document or PDF with a single logo at the top with just blocks of text and no images insight.
Proposals are the designer’s opportunity to impress their prospects in realising they are dealing with professional designers and not an amateur.
It’s your moment to do everything you can to impress them into hiring you for the project.
First things first: make it easy to follow and a pleasure to read. Don’t include large blocks of text. Keep this short and simple by using bullet points and numbered lists to display important bits of information.
Try jazzing it up by making it unique and visually appealing to look at. You could even use it as a marketing tool to display your services.
Having a professionally branded design proposal that visually displays your visual identity will be sure to impress your prospects.
Your service offering should be clearly laid out in a way that’s not only easy for the prospect to read, but looks and feels like something that you have taken time to put together for them.
By spending the time in doing this it’s bound to impact your chances of winning them as a client.
Can You Send it Quickly?
Ok so let’s put ourselves in the client’s shoes for a second…
You go to meet a design agency to have a chat about a possible design project, you really like their work and they are really nice to speak to.
Everything you have seen and heard so far points in one direction, they are going to put your mind at ease and look after your needs.
You leave the meeting very excited about what the future holds and ready to engage with them right away, your mind is made up.
A day goes by…you receive nothing. Two days, then three days. You begin to ask yourself why haven’t they sent over the proposal yet? as it went really well when you spoke to them and they seemed very keen to work together and get things moving, but so far nothing has come through nor have i heard from them?
At this point you, as the client, will start to wonder if you have made the right decision by questioning every little detail about what you said and what they said during the meeting, second questioning everything trying to pinpoint something.
You will be wondering if it takes them this long to deliver a proposal to me, how long will i be waiting for my questions to be answered if i have any when i receive it, and move over to how long it will take to deliver the final work!
The brain starts to wonder at this point!
Eventually a week has passed and the proposal arrives, but even before reading it you as the client are now unsure if you want to work with them.
Remember we are human after all and this is what we do in our nature. The trick here as a designer is to not give your client this time to start thinking like this.
Make a good impression, get the proposal across to your client asap and seal the deal and crack on!
When it comes to sending your prospective client a proposal, sending it as quickly as you can will stun them in a good way.
The sooner you get it to them to review the more likely they are to sign with you.
Never give the client time to ponder their decision! Strike while it’s hot!
Have something universal that you can adjust quickly to match the client’s scope of work and estimated fees. The key is to spend less time creating and designing proposals and more time sealing deals and winning clients.
Embedding Your Personality
Now let’s say as a business owner you are looking for a new accountant to help with your business finances and tax returns.
Choosing an accountant is no easy task its’s like choosing a designer to work with. There are so many good accountants out there that have their own unique personalities.
Most people choose a person or a firm from a recommendation or if they are set with the task of seeking an accountant themselves they go on their gut feeling of someone they like and feel comfortable with and know their personality is a good match for their own.
The issue is when it comes to the accountant sending out their proposal, many accountants / accounting firms seem to neglect their personality in favour of a plain, bland and simply boring proposal.
Think personally and inject it into the proposal, including a picture of yourself and the team your clients will be working with.
Showing off your office or workspace, include some quotes from yourself and team members and also from past and previous clients.
Speak to your prospects on a personal level, let them know how much you’re looking forward to working with them, and show them you care and have their best interests at heart.
By including these elements in your proposal, embedding your personality and help win more clients and projects.
Make it a Great Experience
An experience is everything, good or bad and its’s something that sticks with a person forever..
Now think about that “forever” is a long time, it’s a lifetime!
People remember experiences and it resonates with them in positive and negative ways.
I have recently been working on something for a client I have worked with for over several years.
I helped this client when they first started out in business and helped them grow their business to what it is today.
Anyways, this particular client told me the other day that they never forgot the first time they met me and how comfortable and at ease i made them feel about the launch of their business.
The information I provided them after the meeting reassured them they had made the right choice and they were in good hands.
They said without me none of it would have been possible, it was really humbling to hear and I thank them for being such wonderful clients over the years.
The positive experience I provided to that client still sticks with them today. A bad experience will work exactly the same and receiving a proposal either by post or email that lacks personality and is just uninspiring to look at will contribute to a negative experience.
Also, a tip is don’t send it through the post asking for a signature and for the client to send it back or ask your clients to print off the proposal or design agreement and have them sign it, scan it back in to the computer and send it back to you via email, as this whole experience is not a pleasant one for your client.
I would recommend using an online proposal as it provides not only convenience for both you and your client but also a much better experience for your client.
The benefits are:
- Your client receives them a lot quicker
- The proposal can be viewed on both mobile and desktop devices and they look great.
- Ability to sign them electronically, and you can even implement the facility to collect payments to avoid additional tasks for your clients.
Overall it’s a convenient and greater experience for your clients. If you don’t have the initial funds to set up something like this as it can turn out rather expensive for new designers starting out here’s my advice.
- Design your proposal that is unique to your branding using all the tips i have mentioned earlier. Make it visually appealing but also easy to modify for each new client to save you time each time you create one.
- Within your proposal, create a design agreement covering the project details and your terms and conditions. Keep it as short as possible! It is a good idea to implement an E-sign for the client to sign to agree. There are some reasonably priced services out there, some offer a number of free signatures per month and as your business grows you can upgrade your subscription.
- Create and include a work order section that outlines the scope of the project and deliverables, this section will include your deposit fees and your bank details for the client to make an online payment to start working with you.
Is Your Proposal Leaving a Lasting Impression?
This concludes the Key Components of a Winning Proposal.
Areas to think about:
- Looks and Reads Professional
- Can You Send it Quickly?
- Embedding Your Personality
- Make it a Great Experience
If your proposals are not up to scratch no matter how good your meeting is with the client, it could be a make or break situation and could end up costing you a client.
Think about leaving a lasting impression with your prospective client, review your current proposal, i’m sure there is room for improvement. Spend the time to get it right you will know when it’s working and it will save you a tone of time in the long run.
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