As a consultant, to sell your consulting services I am sure you would be regularly sending business proposals or quotations to your prospective client or existing customers.
Your consulting proposal is the formal presentation of your company, your consulting services, the clients you serve.
You can use a consulting proposal any time when you want to get a new client or if you have an existing client that wants a new set of consulting services from your company.
So, to ensure your business remains competitive and effective, you need to craft a consulting proposal that is well organized, concise and contains all the relevant details the prospect needs (follow these tips to create such a proposal).
Business owners normally ask for multiple proposals from multiple companies to decide which one is the best fit for their project needs.
Yet, we see many instances where sales professionals make common consulting proposal writing mistakes which cost the business tremendously.
Of course, you know how beneficial it is to tailor your consulting proposal template as per the needs of the prospective clients. However, sometimes, recognizing what not to do is equally important. Here are some of the top things to avoid when creating a consulting proposal template.
Not addressing client’s needs
Your prospective clients do not care about your business your consulting services.
I’m sorry but it’s true. All they care is about how it benefits them. Don’t take it personally but it’s just natural human behavior.
And it would be a big mistake – if you are talking mainly about your company, your achievements, your success, your process throughout the proposal.
When you’re pitching your consulting services it is absolutely essential to highlight how your services will help your prospective client and not your business.
You have to sing the tune that your prospect would like to hear.
You should craft the consulting proposal template such that prospective clients will feel that you understand HIS BUSINESS, his problem/pain areas, the changes he would like to implement, the results he would like to see.
Explore the 10-Step consulting proposal template checklist
Keep that evaluation ready for your prospect. Let him know that you understand his business, processes, the problems very well and how well you can help him overcome those problems, grow his business, etc.
Read more on common challenges faced when developing a consulting proposal template
Keeping it lengthy
Do you have that much patience and time to read that long forwarded message?
You will probably just read a few lines or you will simply ignore it.
The same theory applies to consulting proposal writing.
Yet another consulting proposal writing mistake the sales team makes- making the consulting proposal template unnecessarily long.
The key to developing a winning consulting proposal is to make every word count. Trim down all the fat and draft a proposal that is brief and to the point so that the client won’t reject it at the first glance. Never allow your client to check out the other proposals that are in line by making this silly mistake.
Writing proposals w/o lead qualification
The cost of writing proposals for unqualified sales leads is bigger than merely wasting time.
Higher sales outcomes are not often achieved by increasing conversion rates. Instead greater sales are sometimes accomplished by enhancing the upfront procedures like qualifying the sales leads that are coming into your company.
And if you start writing proposals as soon as you receive leads, certainly you are not working smart.
I know what you might be thinking.
There are many variations of qualifying leads – the intent of the prospect, size of the deal, timeline to buy your consulting services, decision-makers involved, cost-benefit involved, etc.
You may feel overwhelmed if you try to answer all of these questions at once. But hey, you have got to start somewhere, right?
As you continue to work on lead qualification, you can come up with a checklist, quick calculations, and related best practices, to refine the qualification process for prospective leads.
Visuals are the first impression readers get of your brand. Visuals keep the reader engaged and urge them to continue reading.
Gone are the days wherein the proposals are sent using printed papers. Even the days of sending proposals in PDF, MS Word, PPT format are numbered. The technology has been such great enabled, it allows you to showcase your best work using videos, tables.
Have a short video of a client testimonial – Why not include it in your proposal? Old PDF, MS Word will not allow you to display and run your video.
Fortunately, there is a way you can easily avoid these new-gen mistakes proposal writers make. There is new proposal software that allows you to, not only customize your proposal but make it more interactive, move visual.
Missing executive summary
You can’t be making this specific mistake proposal writers make. You have to think like a PRO, you have to make it easier for prospect/buyer to quickly shortlist you because you know that your consulting services are the best for their business problems,
The right consulting proposal template always comes with an executive summary.
You have to write a proposal with an executive summary that summarises your understanding of the problem which the client is trying to address and you have the right solution (And you may have delivered recently to similar customers).
Not only it is the purchasing person/buyer but all the decision-makers, influencers, and other stakeholders will be looking for quicker ways to evaluate your entire proposal. If your proposal has the right executive summary, they will be happy to delve further.
Failing to verify the document
Do you know, if you are sending a proposal with typos, misalignment, grammar mistakes, you are preparing yourself to lose the deal?
Are you serious?
Typos and proofing errors in your proposal highlight your lack of seriousness. Only an unprofessional proposal writer would be careless enough to do so
Clients might think that if you are not taking time to verify & address these simple mistakes then what are other shortcuts are might taking during the course of engagement/consulting/ assignment?
Plan it out. Create an outline. Write the copy. Put it through proposal automation software, use Grammarly kind of proofing tools.
Check for spelling errors, improper words, misalignments, formatting woos. Correct anything and everything which will not reflect well on your business.
Making It Difficult to Close
After all the efforts you’ve put into crafting a beautiful consulting proposal template that actually closes the deal but if you miss out few small points in it then all the efforts will go in vain.
Your beautifully crafted proposal should be easy to close.
Let’s take a look at those small points
- In your proposal make it easy for the clients to sign digitally through the e-signing process. Don’t forget to add the guidelines in order to complete the process
- Please be clear on giving information about pricing and implementation plan- Include interactive pricing tables.
- Summarize all the key points
- Make call-to-action clear and concise
- Let the prospect know of the next steps according to you. Or you can express that you are open to navigate the way forward.