When you are into doing projects, any projects, you need to establish connections with your prospect clients. It has always been that way, unless you are selling services as a vendor. But if you are, for example, a contractor for carpentry or a building contractor, it is necessary that you establish a good relationship with your future clients. But that is not always the case. What if you need to get that project closed, what if you want to win in a bid, what if you want to get that grant? That is when you need to have a proposal.
Simply said, it is a means of saying something to someone to get something from him or her. In business, a proposal is a business letter written by the seller to the prospective buyers. In the letter, the seller expresses his or her intention that he has the available services that the client needs. In the letter, the seller draws out all the materials, resources, skills to impress the buyer.
A proposal is like a bidding process. In a bidding process, sellers compete each other to win in deal. For example, there is a need to erect a building. You as a seller will not be the only person to win in a deal. There will be many others in the competition. And if it is a competition, you need to be on the top. And clients assess your offer by the kind of proposal you make. It boils down to saying, the winner is the one who makes the best proposal. It sounds off the mark, but try to offer your service to someone without having to show an impressive display of presentation, and you will understand what this means.
But that does not mean your experience, your background, your skills will not become a factor. They are a big factor. But a proposal is like a curtain in a concert, it is not the main dish of the concert, but some people will make an impression out of it. There are just people who will judge the book by its cover, no matter how hard you try to conscientize them. There is not really wrong in judging a book by its cover, but there is something wrong when a book is judged before one has read its content. And not all people who say something will say something because of what they have read, but because of the impressions they have deduced from something. And proposal is the mastermind of all impressions. So it is all about making a good proposal, but how do you make one?
Proposal making is a process. Basically it starts with the thought of winning a bid. Here are steps in making a good one.
Proposal making is an exciting job. Scary but exciting. Scary because you would have no clue as to the decision of your clients, whether your proposal would pass and be approved, hence you would be hired. But exciting, because like winning a lotto, the feeling of winning in a bid is a combination of shock and awe.
Proposal is like applying a job. Or it is like courting someone. You do not know if your proposal will be approved or be discarded. But that is what makes it interesting. That is what makes it challenging. There is a lot of competition outside. Everything is doing almost the same thing, with the same intention at the back of their mind. But do you have the edge?
Other factors will play a role such as connections. If you have a connection with the client, chances are you will be drafted. But it may not necessarily mean your proposal was better than all the others who submitted. But that is part of business. Connections may not be found in any business strategy books, but it is a big deal. Nobody wants to talk about it, but it is there.
If you are presented with two dishes of the same menu, of the same food, but cooked and prepared by two different chef, respectively speaking. Without tasting the two, and just by looking at it, which do you think would you choose? Our answer would simply be to choose the one which is well presented, perfectly decorated, deliciously attractive. This calls not just the way you make your proposal, the way how the proposal was written. But also, how you present yourself before your clients.
You can not tell the people not to be carried away by stereotyping. It is good not to stereotype people, but you can not dictate them how they react. If they see something, they will always react according to their own programmed, used, responses. You can not tell them to believe that just because you wore slippers, you have no degree in engineering. What you can do is present yourself decently without letting others try to believe what you believe, while at the same time, give them an impression that you can do something without trying to change their beliefs. You do not have to show them a three hour video presentation about your accomplishments, but at least you have somethings to show.
Having considered everything, you really have to look at your proposal from a different perspective. Try to distant yourself, and you can see the whole picture, the whole package. Sometimes, you get too fixated by what we try to present within the limits of the paper. Sometimes, you can be too confident with what you have, such as a whole array of experience, or the number of projects you have accomplished, the number of structures you have built. But you are only seeing something from just one angle, from yourself. So try to look your packaging if it is really desirable enough from another perspective.
There are many proposal templates that can be found on the internet. The topics are countless, in fact, you really have to figure out which one is the right one. It could be about courtship proposal, it could be a proposal on art exhibit, it could be a proposal on making thousands of balloons, and it could be a proposal on building a church, a house, an edifice, a mall. Nevertheless, you can make your own which can be more personal. In doing so, the client may find it attractive if you make your own.