As a freelancer, you will find yourself spending a lot of time writing and submitting proposals. Your proposals are the link between getting the job and not getting the job. Your proposal should be well put together and focused on the needs of the client.
Below are the components of a winning proposal. Adding these components to your proposal will ensure your proposal is read and considered by each potential client. Let’s not waste any more time and get right into the components of a winning proposal.
Components of a Winning Proposal
Give Them Value Right Away
Your proposal should offer value right out of the gate. This could be suggestions for their website, content, mobile app or whatever aspect of their business you’re proposing to address. It is your responsibility to show the client the value you bring to the table. Let your value shine through your words and suggestions. Make them see what you’re worth.
Explain Your Process
Your proposal should explain your process. Highlight how you do what you do and explain what the client can expect from an encounter with you. This will set the client’s mind at ease when working with a company they’ve never worked with before.
The main purpose of the proposal is to offer solutions to the client’s problems. It is up to you to solve their problems and make the, “bad things go away”. While you are writing your proposal, explain in detail what their real problem is and how it can be remedied and what you will do to make everything better.
Share Social Proof
Your proposals should always include social proof, whether that be in the form of text testimonials or links to video testimonials. Your social proof shows the client that other clients have enjoyed working with you in the past and gives them some inkling of what you are like to work with.
You will need to do some research on not just what you’ll be doing for the client, but on who the client is. It’s your responsibility to know who your client is and what they need from you. What are their pain points? What do they struggle with? How can you best be of service to them specifically?
In order to avoid scope creep you must know your client’s needs and requirements well. Pay close attention to what they are asking for and read between the lines. Try to hear what they aren’t saying before you configure your game plan.
Speak with Authority
When you are creating your proposals, you want to make sure you are speaking with authority. Write as though you are the authority on whatever topic you’re writing about. I say this because it is imperative that the client see you as an authority. You want the client to understand that you know what you’re talking about. The more authority you have the more likely the client will be to hire you for their project.
Offer a Freebie
It’s always a great idea to throw in a freebie with your proposal. In the scoped section of the project where you tell the client what you will be doing for them, add in an extra service or product that would help them with another one of their issues. Remember, you’re a problem solver and the goal of the proposal is to identify the issues your client is facing and offering solutions to their issues. If you see a problem that could possibly be fixed quickly with very little effort but would be a great addition for the client, throw it in for free. Clients love freebies!
Tips for Submitting a Winning Proposal
Now that we’ve discussed the characteristics of a winning proposal, let’s look at a few tips to give you the upper hand.
Always read the project details
It is your responsibility to read the project details as closely as humanly possible. It is well known that clients will leave out very important pieces and they will under estimate their own needs, it’s a given. But you must read between the lines as I mentioned previously. The more you do this the better you’ll get it at it. When a customer says they need a full redesign, you may need to ask detailed questions to ensure that this is truly what the client needs. Just because the client mentions they need something, doesn’t mean that will solve their true problem. This is why you must know your industry and the common problems your clients have.
Avoid scripted bid proposals
Each proposal should be unique. Never use a scripted proposal. You can have parts of the proposal that are scripted, but try to make the proposal as unique as possible. Clients deserve to have their own proposals. Show that you’ve put effort into the proposal and you do this by creating a unique proposal for each project bid.
Personalize / humanize the proposal
Remember you are writing this proposal for a client and the client is just another human. Personalize the proposal in such a way that the client feels special. Like he or she is the only client in the world. If you know the client’s name, use it. Connect with the client through the proposal by identifying their problems and calling them as such. Let them know you know what it’s like to have these problems and explain why you are the one, the only one, the best one to help them solve this problem. Speak to them like you would any other human, don’t focus on the technical, humanize the proposal.
Don’t underbid your fellow freelancers
The worst thing you could do is underbid your fellow freelancers in order to win a bid. It’s a sleazy practice and something that shouldn’t be done by upstanding freelancers like yourselves. Charge what the project is worth according to your rates and the client’s stated budget. Be honest. This is the way to a winning proposal.
Proofread your bid
Lastly, proof your proposal. The worst thing in the world is to loose a bid because of a grammatical or spelling error. It’s important that your proposal be perfect. If you’re not good at proof reading hire a professional who can proof read your work before submittal. This is one of the most important things you can do for your chances.
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