Day #15: Mastering the Proposal Process

Inevitably, you are going to reach a stage in the relationships that you develop in which they are going to want to buy what you have to offer.  Obviously, this is something that you can't give to a virtual assistant (even though people try. I know I have.).  This is where you need to need to really up your game in relationship development.

People don't buy your product or service – they buy YOU!

People will buy from you because they like you and trust you, not necessarily because they think you have the best product.  I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but trust me it's true.  In episode 15 of the podcast, I talk about how I lost a prospective customer because I failed to develop a relationship with the decision-maker.

I had been bidding on a contract in which I would be renovating the entire business management system for a company.  The choice was between me and a provider they had went with in the past.  The other bidder told them that they weren't quite sure they'd be able to complete the project for them, while I was absolutely sure.  Unfortunately, I lost the contract because solely because the decision-maker had a relationship with the other bidder and not me.  I wasted my time with the influencer and got burned.  Poor me.

Don't give a prospect a proposal without meeting in person

Every day, thousands of proposals are rejected.  While I don't have the statistics to prove it, I would venture to say that the main reason why they are rejected is because the person writing them never met the buyer in person, or just met once to deliver the proposal.

Alan Weiss in this book Million Dollar Consulting talks about how the proposal should just be a formality and that the buyer should already have no choice in their mind but to hire you.  This is done by dating your client and meeting with them several times to listen to their needs and build trust.

By meeting multiple times in order to build your relationship with the buyer, you'll win %95 of your proposals.

Give the buyer multiple options to say yes to

One way to increase the chance of proposal acceptance, and to upsell your services, is to give the buyer the opportunity to say yes to multiple options. For example, the a proposal I would submit to a buyer would read something like this:

Option 1: Pro Sulum, LLC,will develop a website to the specifications provided in this proposal and attached project documentation.

Option 2: This option inludes everything from Option 1, and Pro Sulum, LLC, will also give a 1 hour presentation and training to your staff on how to use the website effectively.

Option 3: This option includes everything from option 1 & 2, and Pro Sulum, LLC, will also perform analytics and split-testing for the said website in order to find opportunities to increase sales.

I would then give the figures toward the end of the document.  Now, they get to decide how much value they want.  Easy peasy lemon squeazy.


Oh, and don't go over 2 pages in your proposals.

Action Item: Draft up a proposal

If you have no idea how to write a proposal, I highly recommend getting Million Dollar Consulting.  If you do know how to write one, create a quick template that you can fill in when you need to.  You should not have to spend more than 2 hours on a proposal.  If you are taking forever with one, then you are doing something wrong (or you are bidding on government contracts *shudder*).


  • daddydug1

    November 19, 2010

    Incredible… I offered my very first oral proposal today, to which I was invited to submit a written proposal. This post will definitely give me some things to think about as I draft my offer.

    P.S. “Million Dollar Consulting,” is in the mail. Sometimes you shouldn’t mess with fate when it is speaking right at you.


    • Dean Soto

      November 20, 2010

      That is AWESOME, my friend. Way to go. I'm glad that it helped.

      That was really good that you spoke about some of the options first beforehand. It makes a HUGE difference.

      Yeah, every time I followed the proposal process in Million Dollar Consulting, I won the contract. Whenever I didn't , I lost it, lol! It's great stuff.

      Very cool man, keep us up-to-date with how it goes!

  • Paul Tran

    November 21, 2010

    Great post, Man; very simple, straight forward, and easy to implement. You're right – as my sales hero Jeffrey Gitomer says: "All things being equal, people want to do business with people they like. All things NOT being equal, people STILL want to do business with people they like" Relationship, relationship, relationship!

    And you're right about giving proposals in person. You have so much more of an opportunity to enhance the proposal with more questions, adding value, adding relationship-building, friendship, etc. As you know me, Dean – I fly all the way to DC or Chicago to give them the deal. No webinars or cool new technologies for me. Until they create clones – nothing can compare to the in-person interaction!

    • Dean Soto

      November 21, 2010

      That's why you fly all over the place? I though it was becase of something I said. Haha j/k.

      Oh totally, you are so right. Even with a failed project I had, the person that I was working for wanted me to do their business website!! (The failure was on their end). So in effect, they wasted a few thousand dollars, and still wanted to go with me because they liked me.

      It's ALL about the relationship, and you are seriously the man for flying out to your customers. It's a huge difference being in person.

      Thanks for the awesome comment!