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4 Tools to make every proposal work harder (764 words)


What I heard them say: “Send us a proposal and we’ll go from there.”

What they really said: “Send us a proposal and we’ll go with someone cheaper.”

There’s nothing I can do about my hearing problem. But I can fix the problem of being selected based on price alone. And if you’ve ever had to deal with this issue, I can help you fix it too. So listen up.


Tool #1: A simple tweak that makes the difference between a proposal and an invoice

The very first thing you need to do is make sure your proposal does its job.

It’s not an invoice. It’s a description of your client’s needs and problems, and how you’re going to fulfill the needs and solve the problems.

The “tweak” is to omit the price.

Simply state the problem and the solution. Then schedule a meeting or a call to discuss it.

In the discussion, you can address your prospect’s questions and objections in real time, until they walk away with the solution they want and you walk away with the price you want.

This simple tweak alone will get you many clients you would have lost. But there’s more.


Tool #2: The Chin Scraper

Now we’re going to level up your proposal so it upstages and outshines any competing proposal. 

The first step is to add a Chin Scraper to the beginning of your proposal. This is a simple, verifiable fact that highlights the problem you’re proposing to solve, or the solution.

But it has to be a staggering number, something that will make your prospect’s jaw drop to the pavement. Make them scrape their chin on the floor.

For example, if you’re doing Google Analytics for a client, you could open your proposal with the fact, “It’s been estimated that the average small U.S. business lost $144 trillion in revenue in 2018 due to errors in the way their Google Analytics were set up.”

The Chin Scraper does three things for you. First, it gets attention. Second, it shows you’ve done your research and gives you automatic authority. Finally, it makes the prospect eager to get your solution to the problem.


Tool #3: Supplements that pre-sell your proposal

There’s no secret to the pre-sell.

You should always be proactively building an authoritative presence online. You should have blog posts, articles, and videos available that show how informed and awesome you are. 

Whenever you send a proposal, supplement them with any relevant content you have.

Send the potential client a link to your video on “Avoiding the 5 Most Costly Mistakes in Google Analytics. Send them your article that reviews Google-friendly apps and tools. Direct them to the podcast where you interviewed an expert (or where you were the expert being interviewed) on the future of Google Analytics.

All of this is part of your Backbone Marketing Content. Creating this content is the most important work I do for my clients. It’s so important, I’ve given you step-by-step instructions on how to do it here.

“Sure Jacob,” I can hear you saying, “but what else can I do right now?”

OK. I’ll give you one last thing you can do that will only take a minute, before you send off the proposal that your potential client needs to see today.

This might sound cheesy, but it will definitely get your proposal noticed.


Tool #4: The time-tested copywriting trick that’s missing from most proposals

There’s one more thing you can do for your proposal. You can to light it up with headlines, headings, and a catchy title.

What makes things catchy? Self-interest (benefits to your client) and curiosity.

Maybe you normally give your proposal a title like, “A proposal to Big Shot Enterprise, Inc. for Google Analytics services provided by Ambitious Lean Startup, LLC.”

That’s pretty straightforward, but they already know who you are and who they are. Remind them, in the title, why they need you.

Let’s call the proposal exactly what they want:

“Accurate and Actionable Data: A proposal to remove three frustrating roadblocks in your Google Analytics configuration.” 

That’s the title. Now if your proposal is broken into sections, you should title these with headlines. And remember, a  headline does a minimum of two things: It explicitly promises something the prospect wants, and it makes them curious enough to read on.

Make your price irrelevant

If you’ve applied all three of these upgrades to your proposal, your prospect is going to want your solution, and they’re going to want to talk to you about it.

At that point, your price is no longer relevant. Send them the proposal, and you’ll move on from there.


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About Jacob Bear In a digital world filled with endless distraction, the key to success is to become so excited about something that you attack every obstacle and light up the path for your followers. As a copywriter and marketing coach, Jacob has been guiding entrepreneurs to uncover their unique story since 2006. In his new talk, “Finding Your Fire,” he shows you how to cultivate a sense of adventure that brings energy and originality to everything you do. His free Social Media Cheat Sheet shows you how to create authentic, perpetual content in nine steps. You can find the Cheat Sheet and other tools at JacobBear.com/FreeStuff.





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