Nail the Proposal Process
We're gonna wrap it all up with nailing down your proposal process. So this will make it much easier every single time. So again, just going back through, you're gonna prep for the interview like we talked about. Then you're gonna compile the notes, you're gonna highlight the words and phrases in those notes that show up more than once. So that's really key because if people repeat things over and over and over again, then you know that is like in their brain and not going away. So that's my favorite way to kind of start out when I'm sitting down with a proposal is I just do a quick highlight. And whatever's popping up over and over then I know that that language is 100% going in that proposal. Using the proposal template which you guys will all get. It's the structure, you'll crank out a rough draft of each section. When you're doing a rough draft, don't edit as you go. That is one way to edit out, not only all your personality but all your client language. So it's better just to do a...
real sloppy mess of a rough draft on the first go. And then you can go back in later and trim and edit. But if you try to edit as you go it's really easy to just like strip out everything and then it ends up in the proposal, boring proposal that we started with. So we don't want that. Alright, I'm only allowing you guys to do three edits of your proposal so don't do anymore than this. Because then you'll be editing for days and days and days and the proposal's not in your client's hands and that's not doing anybody any good. I'd rather have like a less polished proposal actually going out than one that's taking you forever to put together. So all you're gonna do is you're gonna do your rough draft. Number one, you're gonna read it again. You're gonna make sure you didn't edit out any of your client's language, that you didn't reinterpret it, you didn't change it, just go back to your notes and your proposal, just look, problem statement, is it all working, great. If it's not you swap it out. Next thing is doing a compelling words pass. So think about, you know is there anything in there like we just did in our little white board example that you can say in a better way. So if you have like world class in there, please don't say that. So put something else in, right? Don't worry about doing it for every word, like don't get so caught up you're like this part is terrible. Just, even if you change like five words to start. Like, great, that's fine, that's a great start. And as you go you'll actually be using better language because you get used to it and then you won't have to do this edit as much, you'll just, it'll be a very quick edit. In the beginning it'll feel a little clunky, but that's what practice is for. And then you're gonna polish the spelling and the grammar. That's your final edit. So just do a pass, make sure, use Grammarly, whatever you like to use to just double check and make sure there's not any glaring mistakes. And that's it, you're only allowed those edits. And then what I want you to do is send it out but also, this is an important step not to miss, it's going to sound silly, but everyone is not allowed to miss this. So you have to celebrate the opportunity to send the proposal to the client. I can't tell you how many times people wait to celebrate anything in their business until they get the business. No one celebrates the journey. We should be celebrating the journey. The end result ultimately is out of our control, we can't force the client to say yes, right? If you do that you're gonna burn out in your business real quick. So make sure that you are celebrating when big things like this happen. If you have an opportunity to send an awesome proposal to an awesome potential client, celebrate that. Like, be happy, be grateful and thankful. I don't mean you have to go take yourself on a trip to Cabo, do it if you want, but like, but you could go treat yourself to a coffee. You know, anything, just something small that you're just marking this moment of saying yes, I'm proud of myself, I have the opportunity to send this and I'm gonna get myself one little thing or do one little think that feels celebratory for me. And then you're also gonna mark the follow-up dates in your calendar. So like I said, pick whatever method you want to do but just make sure you're not losing the opportunity to follow-up with your clients. It's very easy to like, three weeks go by and you're like, aah, I forgot. So just don't do that. And then trust that when the answer is no, there's a better yes down the road. This is one of my favorite quotes and it is so true. Every time I get a no, it always turns out to be like thank goodness that was a no because it opens up all this energy and space to welcome in the client you were supposed to have. So don't get discouraged about the nos, just know that it's leading to a better yes and the nos are necessary to get there. Alright so that's it for you guys, you can find me online, I'm mostly on Instagram @melissa.cassera, or you can maybe find me on Facebook though I don't really use it. And then I'm also on Twitter.
I love the follow-up ideas. What would you use in the subject line for these types of follow-ups?
Yeah so sometimes I just use like follow up, honestly, because why, that sounds really boring, by the way. But it does psychologically work because a lot of people will see that and they'll go ooh no, I didn't follow-up on something. Like they actually think it was something they forgot. So psychologically it works, and they open it. So lots of times I will use that even though it's semi-boring. Or I will use something more elusive. Like if it's the part where I'm not asking for an actual sale, like it's, like I said the follow-up where you're just like here's something for you, I'll say like here's something for you, or like something I found for you. Something like that, so I'll kind of feel it out depending on what it is. So either make it elusive, or I'm just like follow-up. And then they think that they forgot to follow-up on something, which they kind of did. But, so it's fair.
Yeah I just had a quick question for, I'm a visual artist, so sometimes like sales are kind of long. They seem like slow burning, you know with the follow-ups. Is there any suggestions on telling the difference between a slow burning yes versus a slow burning no? Because I feel like sometimes you spend such a long time when you're not sure if you're even going towards a yes or a no.
Yeah, well what is the normal life cycle for your clients? Like how long does it take to get that yes on an average basis?
Well it tends to depend on kind of like where I find them. Like if it's at an exhibition or something then the turnaround time is pretty quick, but if it's someone who's like well I really like your stuff send me more information, then that can kind of take a long time and it's not really clear if you're going towards a yes I want this or no I don't, or I want to commission you to do something, so it's not really...
Okay, well it sounds like you have your process down for the first one. So if the first one's turning around a little quicker then that's great. It's sounding like maybe the issue is less proposal and more about when you meet somebody and they're like oh I'd like to commission you but it's kind of like a float out there, like I should do this. Maybe you could have like the first step be, great, like have a specific concrete next step for them. So maybe you'd say, great, if you'd like to commission me for something, let's book a call. And then like do it with them on the spot when they say it, so that it's like right then. Just say it's a brief 10 minute call just to chit chat, I'd love to know more about your space and you know where you're planning to put this art, what your vibe is, what you like, and then that should be a very relaxed conversation. I would treat that as like an introductory conversation. And that will allow you the space to then collect more information because at this point it may just be you're going off of like, I'd like to commission you but there's like no other real information popping in there. And then they're just wishy washy, and you want to weed those people out anyway. So if they're gonna commit to like, hopping on the phone, then you know that you now are taking that next step with them, right? And then you can take the step after more informed as to what they want, specifically about their space and things like that, you can really point out more of like, visual design fun stuff that you know they're gonna get into.
Oftentimes, the proposal is the one thing that wins you new business. Yet, many proposals are stuffed with confusing jargon and unpersuasive language, leaving potential customers and clients bored, uninspired and uninterested.
If you want to close the deal, your proposals should read like a page-turning novel, not a dull, drab summary of what your business does. Marketing consultant and screenwriter Melissa Cassera will show you how to use creative storytelling techniques to write proposals that wow your readers and make them excited about working with you.
In this class, you’ll learn how to:
- Master the pre-proposal conversation to uncover exactly what your client wants.
- Communicate the problem, solution and price in a captivating way.
- Structure your proposal so it reads like a bestseller.
- Focus more on the client’s problem rather than what you do.
- Create a customized proposal rather than using a template.
- Weave in relevant client success stories.
- Nail down your proposal process to make it easy every single time.