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How to Decide Whether to Do a Proposal

Lesson 29 from: Command the Fees You Deserve

Ilise Benun

How to Decide Whether to Do a Proposal

Lesson 29 from: Command the Fees You Deserve

Ilise Benun

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Lesson Info

29. How to Decide Whether to Do a Proposal


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


The Big Ideas: Your Mindset


Deciding Your Goals


Do You Have What It Takes?


Overview of the Top 5 Marketing Tools


Tool #1: Your Elevator Pitch


Tool #2: Effective Networking


Lesson Info

How to Decide Whether to Do a Proposal

Listen, twenty seven is how to decide whether to do a proposal. So one of the things that's interesting to me about proposals is that they, uh, actually take a lot of work to do them right. And there are people I talked to who just never do proposals or have never done a proposal, perhaps because they think it represents a certain higher caliber of work than they're ready to do. Perhaps they don't know how to do one properly, and so just avoid it, in which case you're usually limiting what you, what your options are and how to grow. But the other thing about proposals is that proposals are very high touch, meaning that not only do they take a long time, but you do have to have a certain amount of interaction with your prospect in order to get the information you need in order to do the proposal. And sometimes they don't have it. Sometimes they won't give it. And really, you do have to know whether or not. This is worth it to you if they're not going to be able to give you the informati...

on that happens a lot with our peas requests for proposal right? Because it's often a very anonymous process and these requests for proposals are put out to many, many firms or entities and they don't give you a human being to connect with and you can't ask questions and so then you have to decide and some of them don't even have a budget in them and you have to decide is this worth my time? So when they say will you send us a proposal? I think often people here they want me as if asking for a proposal means not necessarily that they're going to get it but that they are wanted and they interpret it that way when really sometimes will you send me a proposal means I don't have time to talk about this and I want you to do the work and get back to me with something and again you have to decide whether or not it's worth your time. So I propose five criteria to decide whether or not it's worth your time that's what we're talking about here in this lesson so the first one is are they fishing or buying right? Because in some situations people asking for proposal have already decided who they're going to use but they want to compare it against something else and they're not actually serious buyers, so you need to have a way to assess through your conversation through your questions if they are fishing, if they're really serious and buying all right, that's a really important question to be asking yourself don't assume that because they've asked you for for proposal, they're serious, and they're buying especially a lot of these non profit or government agencies where they have to have x number of proposals in orderto actually put it out to bid, they could just be gathering information, and that is not worth your time, so you can get that information criteria number two is do they understand what they're buying? This happens a lot with digital work and interactive work also, that the person who is the prospect is clueless, right? We talked about clueless prospects who don't understand what they're buying, and therefore they're not going to be a very good prospect. So you have to have questions ready to assess whether or not this person understands what the heck they're asking for, because if they don't, they're not gonna have a clear expectation or an accurate expectation of what it should cost. So do they understand what they're buying number three? Is it in your focus area? Right, you may get a proposal that is in your focus area without a budget without a way to contact anyone, but you're a really good fit. That may be a reason to do it. If it's outside of your focus area, then it may not be worth it at all if it's in one of the focus areas that you're building, but you don't have a lot of experience in yet, it may be worth doing, because if you get it, that would mean a new sample in your portfolio. But is it in your focus area is one of the questions to be asking number four. How good are your chances of winning now? A lot of people say to me, how would I know? But you can tell if you look and one of the questions you can either ask or somehow research in other ways is who else is bidding? Who else is putting in a proposal? And you can ask specifically explicitly, who else are you talking to? They may tell you, it may be someone you know, that's. One way to find out who your real competition is, by the way, because you may not know who your competitors are in a particular market, but if they're being considered as well as you for a project, that's your competition. Right so who else is bidding and if they aren't gonna answer the question who else is bidding you can at least ask well, how many other people are you talking teo because if they're talking to just two or three other people then your chances are relatively high that you could get your you could be in the running if they're talking to twenty five people it's probably not a good idea to spend your time on it especially if it's something that's going to take you days all right with this situation I mentioned earlier where the fundraising consultant was coming to me for an event designer he I submitted two suggestions to designers for him to talk to and they had conversations with him and they told me that he's talking in total to four different people so that's pretty good if you have twenty five percent chance to win that could be good much lower than that I would I would be careful and the fifth criteria can you meet the decision makers? Wright this is very important because if you're going through other people or all that is going to represent you is your proposal and you don't know how to write a good proposal then it's probably not worth your time if you can't also meet the decision makers and have influence over in person in real time with your personal presence the people who are going to make the decision so those air five criteria you can use to decide meena, you can meet the decision makers before you some with us proposal no, just not necessarily at some point in the process. It wouldn't be a bad idea to meet before, but, yes, I have a couple of questions that have come in one of you is saying, what do you feel about saying to people you're open to negotiation when you give a quote, is orders that immediately withdraw your power? No, I do think that that is sometimes a good idea. There are also more subtle ways to imply that you're open to negotiation, like, let me know how this number works with your budget and we can be flexible, right? But I don't think I don't think it loses you any leverage to let them know they expect you to negotiate. I'm actually going to emphasize that and say it several times in session three that if you don't negotiate, you are perceived as unprofessional if you just take the first number, if you just throw out the first number you are perceived is unprofessional andan idea turn. Tania says, uh, does at least have an opinion about posting your fees on your website, yes, I do, um and some of the example websites that we have looked at and that are in the workbook are people who post their fees especially jill anderson with her package fees and dedra re enzo also has packages and peas and I think it's a really good idea, especially if you're trying to weed out the ones you don't want to waste your time with putting your prices there will do that and I also think I talked to one person who had hired jill anderson to do her website and she talked about actually this is in the package pricing bundle also she talked about the fact that it calmed her down and made her trust jill just to see the pricing on the website and no, this is what I'm getting myself into it prepared her for the initial call, so I think you know, a lot of people worry that if they put their pricing on their website their competitors are going to know what their prices is I think the upside the advantage to it overrides the disadvantages or the potential disadvantages now few viewers actually took it a little bit confused lisa about product package pricing and what exactly do you mean by that? So maybe this is a good opportunity to just clarify that perhaps people are watching and indeed others who are asking why again, you would not quote a price in an email okay um I'm just going to briefly answer the package pricing question because I will be talking about it a lot more ah whole lesson in session three but package pricing is essentially saying for this price you get this this this and this and three tiered pricing what raina was talking about is saying for this price you get this and for this and this a little bit more it's this price and for this this and this it's this price right? So their actual packages and actually in the workbook I have an example from colleen gratz er of gratz or graphics she shared an actual example of her three tiered pricing so you can see exactly how she does it what she includes what she adds we didn't we took out the actual prices because that's not right, but you can see exactly what the structure of the packages are. There was another question their confusion about why you said you wouldn't put a quote a price in an email. Okay, so the point I'm making there and I'm not saying and maybe I said this to absolutely don't ever do x the point is when you have a new prospect who's asking you first for a price number one that's, a red flag and number two if you just email back a price you have missed out on the opportunity to make a connection and have a conversation and get more information, and that essentially is saying, I'm not all that interested in you. If you're interested, you will say, let me chat with you. Let me get your information so I can tailor something to you. I hope that clarifies thanks for all right now, in addition to the five criteria to decide, you also need questions answered and that's actually a good segue way from that clarification because this is the reason why you shouldn't email back a price you need questions answered, and here are some examples of the questions that you need you need to know what are the goals of the project? What are they trying to achieve? This will help you come up with a price, especially a value based price. You need to know what they're trying to achieve through your work. Your work is just part of a process, it's not the be all end all even though you may think it is or you may want it to be, it is something it is part of something they're trying to accomplish. And then what is the specific objective? What is the metric by which you will measure success for this project? How will we know if it did well? That is a question you'd ask them, and if they don't know, they may not be a good prospect because they may not be able to say, at the end this worked. This was a good resource to use this creative professional was a good research to use because this is how it worked it's not about did they like it, or did they not like it? How are they going to measure the success of what they're doing? Numbers are very important. Number four, who is the main decision maker again? Kind of harping on the fact that you need to be in contact with the main decision maker, or at least know who it isthe, right? So that's a question you need to ask and finally have you worked with someone like me before? Because if they haven't, then you need to pad your pricing so that you can educate them about what is involved and what it takes to do what you do. Because there will be hand holding, there will be some kind of nagging, perhaps some kind of process that you have to take them through. So in order to get that information, you could have a worksheet, you could have a form that people fill out, whether it's on your website or as a pdf of philip ble pdf but is much better. Tohave a real time conversation and to see what else comes out of this conversation because these are not the only five questions, but this is the basis of the conversation. All right, so before we wrap this one up, we have one more. What would you do if and so let's put that question in the chat room, we'll talk to people on the couch, and then we'll go back and see what the answers are. But the question is, what would you do if you were asked to do a proposal that's due in two days, but they don't have time to answer your questions it's kind of similar to the other question, right? What would you do, it's due in two days? But they can't get on the phone with you. So how do you decide whether or not to do it? Well, yeah, for me, the main criterias to have them fill out the work sheet first. What if they say no? I'm sorry, we don't have time, then I would probably delay the proposal. Excellent. Raina, I would try to do some preliminary basic research about who they are and how, how much I would like to work with them to decide, and then, depending on that, you know, maybe give a three tiered proposal so what I like about your suggestion is that if they can't answer your questions, maybe there are other resource is you can use or even asked them for teo kind of direct you where can I get answers to these questions if you can't give them to me so that I can at least you know, do a good proposal for you justin you wanna add anything gets depends on if it's a client that I want to work with me if it's a project that seems interesting, I guess I would use the closest project that I've worked on like that project to be like, you know, just send that kind of similar like I worked on project that's similar to this this this is what that budget looks like that's what we did for this kind of use a previous experience without maybe having all the details that you need to create a good proposal absolutely and another point that you're making which is really important is the fact that once you know you have to know who you want to work with and who you don't want to work with in order to make this decision. And if you haven't identified your ideal clients and if you haven't filled out the form about which favorite clients who want a clone then really all you have to go on is they want me so I better do it or I don't have anything else coming along, so I better do it right. This gives you much more information on which to base your decision, raina I really like his idea about using a quote or another project as an example, because then you can give price is based on the other people's details, and you won't be held to them because they're details might be different, but they still get a good idea. It's simple? Well, I find like, you know, if they're not responsive and they're not able to like get back to me within two days, it's kind of an indication that they're not it's not doing me a very collaborative process, and they're going to take longer to rip. I got back to me, so I'm building a website for them they'll probably won't have their content ready and I'll have to get started on some designed the project lifecycle will be going on forever so it's a red flag and or can be used to say no, sorry that's not a good fit for me or I'm going to double the price off the top of my head, quite unequivocal, they've all said the same thing that all of them said no grass, a graphic says I would spend, I wouldn't spend any time on it, and in fact I may eva in decline because this may set the tone for the relationship you actually get the job, three eighteen media says, I would tell them I'm unable to put together a comprehensive proposal for them without having my questions asked and that's quite simply, the process blue monkey says thes sounds like a problem client, and I would certainly avoid that climb. People have learned very well today, and they have a process in place and they have policies and they know they're red flags. That's beautiful call aaron geese black says I would actually just asked for more time, but if you can't get it exactly and I like the idea of asking for more time because even if they say I only have two days, that may not be true, right? They may be able to find more time if they want you all right. So let's, wrap up this segment with the last exercise. Now all of the details about the five criteria and the five questions you need answers are in the workbook. But the questions are, what are your criteria? These are not the only criteria. There are these air just five I've come up with you might have other criteria for howto qualify your prospects to make sure that these are the people you want to spend your time doing proposals for because even if you don't get it you want to make sure that the time you spent the time you invested is worth it for the future because maybe there's something in the future that you will be able to do with them and that could be part of your calculation as well so what are your criteria and what other questions do you generally ask what have I missed here in this? I think aesthetics is really important as creatives like if if you have a very few of a certain aesthetic and ah a corporate client comes along and it's just not the match or you know it's ethnic ethically not a match like those kind of questions that I ask and are he I think the top criteria for me excellent beautiful mane a schedule also huh um obviously if somebody has a lot more flexibility with their schedule than I can either have more time to find out all the questions that I need to find out about or I can maybe structure my pricing differently and yes absolutely san you and add yeah I ask all the questions that you mentioned on the slide actually just what's your business objective. What were the main decision makers? Andi also asked them about like the exact services that are looking for a similar projects that they would. They like me, so that I can base, uh based project proposal based on whatever they like authority out there. Excellent, excellent. All right, what about in the tack room where they think three, eighty media says, I always ask, are there any considerations that could impact the project's schedule or the budget on laddie, says they they simply have to know how to define their business, so I asked him to tell me about their business. If they can't do that all, they can only put one or two general statements. I know they really are not ready to move forward, beautiful.

Class Materials

bonus material

Ilise Benun -- Command Your Fees Workbook.pdf

bonus material

Ilise Benun - Chapter 1 - Creative Professionals Guide to Money.pdf
Ilise Benun - Do You Have What it Takes Quiz.pdf
Ilise Benun - Jill A Case-Study.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Rashida B.

I wasn't able to catch this during the day, but I stayed up literally all night for three nights watching the replays. AMAZING. This definitely goes up there with the best of the best and most useful Creativelive courses ever. Pricing isn't the most exciting topic in the world. However, Ilise was passionate about the subject and her enthusiasm made this not only interesting but fun. I loved how she infused it with her vast knowledge and real world examples. Her guests were just as interesting. This was all around GREAT!


Helping others help themselves. Ilise Benun is clear and well-organized. The methods she shares are easy to understand while honest and straightforward in approach, stating from the git-go that work on my part is required. Ilise draws on her own experience as well as the methods and experience of other professionals in this course. She welcomes us into a proven plan for successful growth embracing an attitude of progress rather than perfection and attraction rather than promotion. This is my kind of mentor!


Oh wow! My favorite course to date! Ilise's expertise was tremendously helpful. Thanks to Ilise, I'm not "stuck" any longer and I'm so excited to implement the wealth of knowledge I've gained from this master Marketing Mentor. This course is well worth the cost at any price!! Thank you so much Ilise!!

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