When Creating A Proposal Works Against You

(Photo via Alfresco)

Today I want to continue our discussion from Monday about creating bid proposals for prospective clients. There are occasions when writing a proposal is truly a waste of your valuable time.

Sometimes, you meet with prospective clients, and you know immediately that they’re just shopping around; these folks are always eager to pick your brain and are always very keen on getting you to share specific ideas on the spot.

Now, if you offer a service like wedding planning, DJing or taking photographs, it’s pretty easy to give prospective clients a straightforward proposal.

However, if you design anything from scratch such as flowers, event spaces, or invitations, it becomes much more difficult to craft a proposal. Why? Because you have to basically design the entire job before you’ve been hired!

Naturally clients want to know how much you’re going to charge them before they sign on the dotted line. And naturally you have to do some serious designing in order to determine what to charge. It’s a tricky dilemma. Here’s my solution:

1. Show prospective clients one of your previous events, and give them a price range for such a job. Don’t forget to explain how you determined these prices and why things cost what they do.

2. When you do create a bid proposal, opt to give price ranges instead of specific figures. For example, if you’re a florist, you can say that your low centerpieces range in price from $150 to $450. Just make sure that your lowest price point does in fact cover your costs, because most folks only remember the small numbers!

3. And most importantly, if your gut is telling you that a potential client is just shopping around and wasting your time — know when to say “No, thank you” as politely as possible.

Dear Readers, do you create bid proposals for every potential client who wants one, no matter what the circumstances? Have you ever given a prospective client a proposal only to find out later that they used it to get a better deal from another vendor?

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