IN THIS CHAPTER
Tailoring your proposals to your customers
Engaging with your customers
Managing the relationship with your customers
Customers, no matter who or where they are, tend to behave in predictable ways: They choose to work with other people and companies that they know, like, and trust. In certain markets, like in governments, your customers have to follow closely monitored procurement regulations, evaluate you against specific formal criteria, and even publish the results for the world to see. But despite these constraints, if they know, like, and trust you, they’ll figure out a way to pick you over other businesses. Conversely, if they don’t know, like, and trust you, they’ll figure out a way not to pick you.
As you begin the process of writing your proposal, keep this mantra firmly in mind: Your proposal is not about you — it’s about your customers. It looks like them. It sounds like them. It follows their line of thinking. It reflects the relationship you have with them. Therefore, you need to get to know your customers long before you deliver your proposals, and you continue to develop your relationship with them long after they’ve read the last sentences or crunched the last numbers.
In this chapter, we help you establish and enhance relationships with your customers, use those relationships to create more persuasive and effective proposals, and use those proposals to continually improve relationships with your customers ...