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How to Run a Client Meeting so Proposal Writing Becomes a Doddle

It’s been called many things. A needs analysis, initial meeting, a fact-finding session. I prefer to call it a discovery process.

It’s the process you walk your client through in order to discover the issues they face in their business that you can help them with. While doing this, don't think only about the current leads you have. Think long-term about your sales processes and goals.

In order to grow your business, you need to understand your way of selling.

Considering your current level of experience in business and selling the service you do, you probably already have lots of questions and ideas in your mind around taking on a new client, both for yourself and them. I have broken this down into two sections:

Part 1 - “Do I even want to do this job?”

These would be questions to work out:

  • Do we/I have the technical skills to do this?
  • Is it the kind of work we want to do?
  • Is this the kind of person we want to work with?
  • Do they have the required budget?

When you answer these, you will know exactly what you can and want to do for your future customers.

Part 2 - “How can we help get this person the best results possible?"

This section contains the questions for your client, such as:

  • What are your goals?
  • Where are you now?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • What does success look like for you?
  • How much do you want to spend on this?

The answers to these questions are the signposts to writing the proposal. You will need to go into a lot more detail in section 2 about your specific client to really work out exactly what you need to know. My suggestion is to think about a project start-to-finish and detail all the questions you need to ask in order to get to the point where you can complete the job. It will allow you to get a deeper understanding of the project far earlier, making your proposal that much better. Notice I said complete the job, not just win it. Think further than just getting the 'yes'. All you need at the very least, are the questions you’ll ask each client saved in Notes on your phone and to simply ask each one. This keeps all your discovery sessions consistent and makes the proposal writing part effortless.

Remember, don't struggle through your client meetings reinventing the wheel each time. Develop a process that works for you and repeat it.

Start getting your discovery questions together, even just 5 or 10, and put them into action the next time you have a meeting.

Adam Hempenstall's profile image
Adam Hempenstall is the CEO and Founder of Better Proposals. He started his first web design business at 14 and has since written four books and built an international movement around sending better proposals. Having helped his customers win $500,000,000 in the last 12 months alone, he’s launched the first ever Proposal University where he shares best practices on writing and designing proposals. He co-runs a once-a-year festival called UltraMeet and is a massive FC Barcelona fan.