Chapter 7

The Perfect Proposal

How to Write a Proposal That’s Accepted Every Time

Assuring Success

I was once hired by a pharmaceutical consulting firm in New York. They told me that they put an emphasis on proposals but the firm was suffering in terms of profit. I found out that they were generating about 300 proposals annually—nearly one per day—and had an entire back-room crew devoted to their production, and rewarded based on . . . drumroll, please . . . numbers of proposals sent to prospects.

They were focused on input (production) and not output (resultant business). And they were consultants!

The first part of implementation of a project—and the bridge from your marketing efforts of Section II—is to create a proposal that’s accepted every time. My hit rate over the years has been 80 percent. I send out far fewer proposals than many other consultants, but the proposals have been for larger projects and accepted more readily.

The proposal process begins with your doing everything possible to assure yourself of success. That’s before a word is on paper, before you’ve determined your methodology, and in many cases, before you even have a hint of the route to proceed down. At one point, addressing a group of consultants at a national conference, I asked what their objective was in the first meeting with a prospect.

“To come out with the signed contract!” shouted one, reminding me for all the world of the used car dealer who goes to the manager for a better deal and then rings ...

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