Ask yourself this, can you remember the details of a meeting you had 5 working days ago (adding any weekends in)? I doubt it. Sure you can remember having it and you can remember what it was about and the major events but the subtle details of the meeting are gone.
So flip the roles – you have a meeting with your potential new client, then you leave it 4 days, it takes a day to write the proposal and send it over. Meanwhile, it’s been a weekend and a lifetime of other issues have occurred since then for you both. How easy is it going to be to write that proposal?
You will probably have forgotten the details of the meeting. You’ll have the basics down but it likely won’t be as fresh as if you’d done it right away. Likewise, your client won’t be as fresh on the details which makes your proposal even weaker in their eyes.
I get the idea that if you leave it a few days then it looks like you’re busy. As if doing it quickly looks like you have nothing better to do. I understand the thinking, but for all the “bad” that does, it’s massively outweighed by sending the proposal late.
Let’s look at 3 little tricks to help you send your proposals faster.
Most people I speak to seem to believe this idea that their proposals are super unique and every single one is completely customised to the client. They’ll later say that that “customisation” includes changing the price and the client’s name. Yeah, super customised proposal you have there!
The thing to realise is you can template the vast majority of any proposal. There are always going to be parts that are the same and in fact the stucture should always remain the same. A good proposal template is one of the most important documents your business can invest in. Fortunately, you can download a selection of them for free.
If you don’t know how to put together the structure of your template or proposal and the free example proposal templates aren’t any good to you then try this. The 15-Minute Proposal is a book I wrote which details the entire proposal writing process and how to create the ultimate template for any business. It’s completely free and you can get it here.
Writing the specification is the bit that takes the time. This is the part of the proposal where you describe what you’re going to do. This is always time-consuming but there is a simple way to speed it up.
Ultimately, the “what you’re going to do” part is more or less a summary of your discussions with the client, so what you want to do is write the meeting notes with your client in a way that you can just pad it out a bit and add it to the proposal. Always have this in mind whenever you’re in a meeting, it will help you massively in the long run.
The easiest way to do this is structure all of your client meetings for new business. Use a needs analysis. I recorded a video about this a few years ago but the information is just as valid now as it was back then. Learn how to automate your sales process with a needs analysis.
If you really enjoy having free-flowing meetings with your client and don’t want to have to worry about taking notes then simply bring someone with you to take notes or even record the whole thing.
These ideas will help you speed up writing the most time consuming part of your proposal.
The last thing that screws people up is they don’t have a plan. They bumble through the proposal randomly editing bits of it until they’re happy with it. This isn’t the right way to go.
You should know your proposal template inside out and not just be floating around it. You know you’re not going to edit the ‘Next Steps’ page. Your process is the same so you don’t even need to click on it. The idea is that you’re just editing the sections that you know need editing. Those pages are:
Most people use Microsoft Word or InDesign. The problem is, Word is designed for basic letter writing and it’s hard even for professional designers to make the documents look nice. InDesign is specifically for professional designers. This means that there’s not really good software you’d have on your computer for writing proposals.
Better Proposals is specifically designed as a proposal writing tool so it does everything you need and nothing you don’t. You don’t use a hammer to drill holes so don’t do the same with the most important document your business has.
Better Proposals is free for the vast majority of our users so give it a look and I think you’d be surprised at how much faster simply using the right software actually is. This is all about getting more deals approved so my parting piece of advice is this.