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Dhan

July 09, 2020

Fresh Proposals Story – Struggles With MS Word & The Stupid Wait

Why Fresh Proposals - Challenges with Microsoft Word

This is the second part of a multi-part series about how the startup/product idea was conceived and the turns of events I had to go through. There have been moments of failure, painful realization of the inability to change things around us with existing resources and mindset, overcoming failures, keeping up faith-patience and a lot more. I hope you will enjoy this ardent journey of an entrepreneur.

Oh Boy, Going Back to MS Word Was No Joy!

frustrated writing proposals using Microsoft Word
Even after a few days of research, I could not find any good alternative, I had to go back to Microsoft Word. And I started searching for best pieces which were scattered throughout different proposals e.g.

  • Our product’s features were covered well in the base version of common proposal (template)
  • The ABOUT US section was crafted well in a proposal that I sent to a US based healthcare company last week, I couldn’t duplicate (or push) it in the common proposal template file.
  • The PRICING section came out well in the proposal accepted by the IT Services company from the UK. This prospect needs exactly similar pricing options.
  • TERMS & CONDITION were always mentioned and referred to our website but in case of this prospect, I had to include all those terms and conditions in the proposal document.
  • I needed to cover product customization in the details since the prospect was expecting more information than what was available on our website.

There were no specific proposal files or specific content inside those files to select/take out proposal content easily, since there were too many files and their versions.

Adding Graphic/Visuals

I also managed to get someone to include nice looking graphic elements in the proposal. It was looking better than all earlier versions.

Finally after three days’ gruelling efforts, I was able to put together things in the proposal. Honestly, I wasn’t very happy about how the proposal came up, more could have been done. But I have already invested too much time into it and most importantly, I was pressed against time and I had to send it.

Finally, The Proposal Was Out

I exported the MS Word file version named xSolution-ProspectName-v5.4.docx as a PDF file, renamed it so that it will look normal. The PDF file size was about 6.5 MB. I composed an email to send a proposal, attached PDF file and pressed Control + Enter. Bingo!

send proposal email

I felt relieved as if I got the monkey off my back.

Then I Waited

Despite the painful process of creating the proposal, I was very eager to hear from the prospect. I was waiting for the prospect’s response to the proposal. The day passed, the next day also passed, nothing!

Like it happens in case of the most business interactions, I sent a follow up email.

I Waited Even More

Keep waiting for prospect's response to your sales proposal
Another day passed, still nothing. I didn’t even know if the prospect opened my proposal, did he circulate it among his team members?

Absolute radio silence from the other end. I couldn’t hold it further. I decided to call up the prospect. My call ended up in the voicemail box.

It Happens, I Know! 

A week later, I made calls, left two more voice messages, and sent follow up emails. Yet nothing moved.

I got Regret-Email From The Prospect

And then I received a regret-email from the prospect that they are not moving forward with the solution.

That feeling you get after receiving such mail or a call is miserable. Suddenly your mind gets flooded with thoughts – everything was so positive – what did I miss, what would have gone wrong, did they choose to go with that vendor/provider, what could have been the reason.

It happens, I know! It happens even to the best among us.

After a couple of uneasy hours, I wrote back to George. Thanked him for responding but asked whether they have made any final decision.

I got a reply from George but it was not encouraging. He said, “We are putting things on hold for at least another quarter.”

Sometimes you over-read (read too much) between the lines. And I didn’t want to over-read this time

Was everything kind of lost in this case? All efforts gone waste? Let’s find out in next part.

Image Reference: Giphy: https://media3.giphy.com/media/CzbiCJTYOzHTW/giphy.gif

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