Anatomy of a Proposal
Lesson thirty four and that a meat of a proposal so we've talked about what is a proposal and we talked about what a proposal is not and we've kind of talked about the elements of a proposal but I want to focus in now on what exactly is in a proposal what that proposal must have and then what some optional elements are so every proposal must have and some of this is kind of obvious but let me say it anyway a description of what they need and what you are proposing to do now it may be obvious, but it may not be so obvious because I've seen proposals where the assumption is made since we talked about it I don't really have to put it in the proposal and I think it's very important, as I said before to repeat and clarify and emphasized what it is you understand that you were going to do and they're trying to achieve so that it's on paper because things can get very fuzzy especially when their stress especially when there's scope creep and if you recall in session one when we were talking t...
o jill anderson and she was talking about her packages and she said it's nice tohave it outlined what exactly is in it? Because then when things start to change we can go back and say well, as a matter of fact this is what we agreed to right, so if you have it all written down ah very concise and clear description of what it is that you're offering to do and what they need is very important. All right, number two is the delivery bubbles so that's different from the description that the liberal bulls are exactly what they get? And again, this may be obvious to you because it's what you do and think about all day long but your client may not have any idea exactly what they're going to get, so you need to be very explicit about what they get when they get it, how many of them they're going to get and also what their responsibility is in that process. So for example, if you're doing branding or corporate identity, you may say you are going to get three examples or three concepts for three different logo's and you're going to get them on this date and here's what we need from you your approval within three days or within a week and two possible revisions and if it goes over and above that, then here's what happened? So again kind of this idea of bringing consequences or if that doesn't happen then here's how the schedule is affected for example, right? So you want to make it clear to them what their participation in the process is because that may not be obvious to them all right three again kind of obvious but not always there the idea of costs in terms of both creative fees and or expenses so again, this depends on what the actual project is, but some of the questions I often get here are, um should I itemize the fees or should I just give one number or should I give one number or should I give a range so again it depends on the situation it depends on the project it depends on the client, but in general my recommendation is don't give too much information keep it really simple so itemizing is not keeping it simple and also if you itemize like a chinese menu, you get we're doing this, we're doing this, we're doing this, we're doing this and you put a price next to each one it implies almost unconsciously that they can choose between those things because they know how much they are and you can say, well, what if I don't want that? Can you take it out? And if the answer is yes, okay, but in general you want to offer your whole suite of services and especially if you can't take it out, you don't wantto imply that it is possible and I see a lot of people itemizing everything maybe because they feel some, uh, compulsion to justify why they're charging as much as they are see here the prices dad, right here, the prices no this's your business, this is your offering and it's one price in general for what it is. I wouldn't even itemize out by phase. I've seen people do that it's a phase one is this much face too? Is this much face? Three is this much again? That implies that they can get rid of face to know alright, so large numbers let's say especially when they're large projects and ranges are especially useful, because so you're saying this website will cost somewhere between twenty five thousand dollars and thirty thousand dollars. You don't want to lock yourself into a number, especially if you don't know the client, especially if there's the potential for scope creep, especially if things might change. You want to give yourself some cushion, some latitude within the context of what you already know the client is going to be able to pay right again. We've already gauged the budget we've had the conversation. This is not the first time they've seen the numbers and you're going to say here's, the range that we're anticipating, and then you can also have a line at the bottom that says this is just a estimate, this is based on what we discussed, and if anything changes, then we'll have to re negotiate. All right and finally I can tell that they're going to be some questions about this so let me say what the fourth one is and then we'll see if there are questions the timeline so kind of obvious also but not always there a realistic production schedule of what you think it's going to take and I think this is crucial because this is an opportunity to show how well organized you are, how your process works and I would also frame this in a way that is visual so that just by looking at it maybe you put it in a calendar actually and you say weak one we're doing this week to we're doing this week three we're doing this because otherwise it makes it challenging for people to compute what exactly the time frame is means all right, so those are the four things that every proposal must have questions justin what's the difference between a price quote when you're and a proposal and I'm curious about your thoughts on actually itemizing services in a quote so again, you know, as I said before these words mean different things to different people a price quote to me is the same as an estimate which is the same as the simple proposal the proposal number one so what is a price quote to you? Well, basically, what I had been doing was breaking down like pre production is going to cost this much much but potions and cost this much production is cause this much and then breaking down production like a camera operator is gonna end so showing why good question so that's a good question everyone should be asking why am I doing it this way it's not necessary unless they need to know it's not necessary and I think it's information you don't want to reveal good who else may know how do you do it? I do all of that data and do you do do itemized you give one number do you give ranges? It depends of course but yeah I have itemized um uh my reasoning for that being that a lot of clients don't fully understand what's involved and so showing sort of oh yes of course they have to do that and that costs money sort of that you look at everything and that make the mix a final number make more sense to them that was my reasoning but I am I think I'm going to come around to to the total and the range especially well so to me you're talking about two separate things so that's very interesting basically you're saying teo give them the itemized list of prices justifies the process those two things in my mind should be separate you could have a page where you described the process but you don't need to put pricing to it right? Okay, yeah do describe that song but I don't need to do it again I guess exactly, yeah, I do think we have trying to figure out how to better itemize the you know, the costs I tried to just listed out there and then with a description of exactly what's going to be include so that's very clear on there's no school creep later on. So that's my reasoning of my kind of itemizing it and having a description or anything but what exactly it's going to be? Yes, and I'm not saying they shouldn't know and you shouldn't put exactly what you're going to do. I'm just saying don't put prices to it. Well, not necessary. Okay, I imagine there are questions in the tack room about this too well, people are sharing their experiences are antonius is saying what if your client insists that you itemize your price so again I'm not saying you give an ultimatum to your client you say no, you have to have a negotiation, but maybe you explain why you're not itemizing or maybe you find a middle ground and you say maybe this is phase one or this is face too, and you khun give arrange for each phase and some way to give them the detail because maybe they're just looking for detail but really the chinese menu doesn't help anyone on three eighteen media responded actually as well they say, well, when this happened to them they usually try to get a meeting so they could break down the process and not just be replying back and forth an email so I think that this issue of process it's process process is very important because most of your clients no matter what you do don't understand what you do and that's again as I've said, where the marketing comes in in your marketing you khun b describing your process and that will help them understand in your proposal you could be describing your process in your meetings you khun b describing your process all of these ways so that in the proposal you don't have to put prices to it. Those are two separate issues sometimes I think also you have to sort of have try and put yourself in the opposition off the person's shoes because it could be that they've received two incredibly detailed proposals and they look atyour and they'd like to work with you, but they're trying to match the two that could very well be often don't know what's going on behind? Absolutely absolutely because there are all those other people who are putting the chinese menu out there they need to take this course obviously yes all right, all right, so now let's go to the optional elements so these air every proposal must have, and depending on what your prospect needs in order to choose, you hear some other optional elements, and we I don't think I have on this list actually, the whole bit about process that I just talked about, so let's add that to this list explanation of your process in whatever way it could be visual, it could be written, it could be both. But tell them, explain to them what you do now, information about you. So again, it depends on the type of proposal we're talking about in the small when you're not probably not going to put much information about you, maybe a one paragraph bio. If you have a team, it could be you, here's who's doing the work right and a little bit of information about the people, but in a much larger type number four, for example, you're gonna go into much more detail about who you are, who your team is, what experience you have put pictures, you know, really make it clear that you have the resources to do the big project that needs to be done because I think sometimes especially when they're using the proposal to sell it to someone else in the corporation, then it's. All they know is you and all that's in there is you it may not be clear that you have the capability and the capacity to do what needs to be done and so your proposal really needs to make that argument also especially I would say, for creative professionals and freelancers who work independently but also collaboratively with other people if you don't have the information ready and at hand tio slip into your proposal because here are your other teammates even though they don't work for you, then you won't be ready to make the right argument relevant samples so I mentioned this earlier the whole idea is to tailor each product proposal teo each possible project showing not necessarily a lot but the best relevant samples that you can to say I know exactly what you need I've done this before here are the the examples and even if they've already seen your portfolio even if they're on your website even if you've talked with them about it put it in there you never know what they weren't listening tio what they forgot about what they got confused with someone else who was putting their proposal make the complete argument for yourself using relevant proposals on top of that client references are all also very, very useful and they should be also tailored to this project don't just have these air the three references I always use right they should be a reference to a person and a company just like theirs and again this is where focusing makes it easier because you will have references that air just like them that they can go to and you give perhaps the contact information but always make sure that you let your references know to expect a call from these people that they will be reaching out and maybe even give them a heads up what you'd like them to say what these people might be looking for prep them right so thatyou again take more control over the situation to make sure that the best argument is made for yourself and finally also as I mentioned before the client responsibility what is their role going to be in this process? What will they need to deliver to you? What on what time frame that and put that information not only is important but also again shows them that you know exactly what you're doing you've done this so many times before and here's your roll it kind of takes that parental position also and says we've got this covered we know how to do this all right? Any questions? No good all right now I have a special link for everybody because, uh dig india actually who we did a skype chat with in session to put on an event a couple of years ago called the international freelancers conference I think and I did a twenty minute video called the anatomy of a winning proposal for that. So here is a link to my video stream where you can go and watch where I go into much more detail about what I just said here. It's just a special bonus link to this video where you can hear and see examples actually of, um, these aspects and elements of proposals. All right, so here is the exercise. So in the workbook, we have the list of all the elements that I just went through. And the question to the audience both in studio and online, is which of these elements elements are missing from your current proposals. What do you need to add? What are you learning today that you know, you're going toe run home tonight and add justin, all the things that I've learned over the last three days, what just happened here just kind of blew my mind because I have been doing that, you know, price quote was somebody wants the job, I just send them a breakdown of what? Something costs um, why why? Why? So I will never do that again. Like, why not just showed, like explained the process, give them a price. And that's that will change the way that I did. It was us from moving on. I'm so not really that good transformation right here is just a transformation that's what we're here to do inspire and transform people may know. What about you? I've never included client references with contact information's a little scary to me? Um why? Because I wonder what they're going to talk about, and but as I said, you control that you prep both sides. Yeah, I think I'm going to do it, especially obviously for clients who don't know me, um, and the explanation of the process, I do the client responsibility I do, I only include samples and information about me. If it's a new client, that doesn't know anything about me, so I might do that little mole doesn't hurt there's no reason not to write again. It shows professionalism ain't seen with me. I am hoping to now, when the cost sections include ranges instead of exact prices and also probably adam the client references with the quotes on their feedback project data from that would be helpful. Excellent. Mellie based says this has been a lot of these have been really good learning points for me grass. A graphic says I made huge changes in my proposals asked after working with the least very recently on this. And I've gotten great feedback so far, so I'm waiting to hear back right now on a proposal hyo saying, well, I'm not really missing, but I need to do more of reducing my itemize pricing to just one number or arrange on lissa. M says, I'm going to go from creating simple estimates for clients to creating more detailed, targeted proposals. Beautiful, so looks like transformation all around.