To write a business proposal that gets the business requires plenty of preparation and work. The most common mistake made by business proposal writers is a lack of understand of the client’s business, industry and challenges.
Because the business proposal process can be time consuming, it’s easy to want to take the short cut and create a simple template for submitting a proposal. Yet, this quick cut and paste methodology is a path to getting your proposal tossed and your bid out of the running.
To write a business proposal worthy of your clients attention and able to solve their most vexing problems requires information. You need to clearly understand the issues the client is facing while leaving your own assumptions and immediate solutions on the table.
If you want your business proposal to stand out in the sea of competing firms, the essential step is to thoroughly interview your client.
The First Step in Writing a Business Proposal
Getting a client’s business is all about one thing… selling. The best sales person does less talking and more listening. Craft a list of essential questions to understand your potential customer’s business. Here are some questions to help you build your interview question list:
- What is the current challenge your business is facing?
- What is the greatest challenge your industry is facing?
- When did you first determine this business problem existed?
- What have you done in the past to address this issue and what was the outcome?
- What is the best outcome you wish to achieve with this project?
- What current information does your company have to solve this problem?
- Will our firm have full access to the stake holders involved in this project to ensure success?
- Is your company looking for recommendations or also help in the implementation of those recommendations?
- When do you want this project completed?
- To implement our recommendations, what obstacles will be necessary to overcome?
- Do you have a set budget for this project?
Formulating a list of potential questions to ask prior to the meeting will help save any misunderstanding and create the foundation for a successful business partnership.
Before you meet your potential customer, take a few deep breaths and remember they are seriously interested in what your business can offer. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have taken the time to meet with you.
Once you have engaged the client and extracted the necessary information, you now can write a business proposal that has much greater odds in closing the deal.