The fact is that proposal writing starts well before you even put pen to paper…because the proposal is only part of the business development cycle. Sure, there are the technical things you need to know how to put the proposal together and to write persuasively, but if you know your client and know what you can do to help them, then writing the proposal should be the easy bit…In order to get to where we have to write a proposal, we have to have a client and a need identified. And either of those could come first.If you have a product that fills a certain need, then you can target organisations that have that need. Presuming you have a genuine value proposition then it shouldn’t be too hard to sell…and presumably you have the need in mind when the product was developed…if you didn’t then you have a strange way of going about product development.But what if you are more service-oriented and don’t have an off the shelf solution to sell? How do you find and create opportunities? In many ways the same way…surely you have a marketable solution that you can offer to a target organisation…You may have a long list of target organisations, but how do you get in the door. Maybe they have an incumbent offering a similar service already. Firstly, get to know them. Get an appointment – if you can get a call to a decision maker then asking for a few minutes of their time shouldn’t be hard – as long as you can demonstrate that you can offer better value to them than a competitor or provide them with something that solves a business need.Use a SWOT analysis to help you quantify your own value proposition and refine it. Use competitor evaluation tools to help identify your market position.There are of course occasions when tenders and RFPs are advertised, but by then the organisation has done it’s research and knows what it wants – to get the most out of opportunities, try and get in there first and create your own. What tenders provide you with though are information about the business and especially their procurement cycle. The more professional procurement gets, then the better you have to be ready to handle it. Remember that not all your competitors may not jump through all the hoops as well as you, so use the procurement process to your advantage.Once you have a target client, then create an account plan for how you will achieve your goals. Start those goals small – a phone call with your target buyer. Then a meeting, then an identified opportunity stating at each step of the way what you need to do to close the next goal that you have identified. Remember that getting any kind of action from the client – agreeing to a phone call or meeting is a close…and if you keep closing you end up writing a proposal (hopefully writing a winning proposal) for your client.Plan regular meetings and calls with the client and once you get to know them, give yourself a monetary target that you are looking to get from that client.No-one is handing business out these days – you have to go after it, and create your own leads. So do research on potential organisations where you can make a difference, find out how they buy, what they need and go after them with your value proposition. It’s not going to work every time, but you will end up with more opportunities to write proposals for.Learn to Write Proposals is the leading Internet business proposal resource center.At Learn to Write Proposals you will find all the tools that any proposal writer needs to manage, write and review a proposal. This includes training material, templates, tools and resources all designed with one goal in mind – to help our members create better proposals, faster.
Why is your business not producing the results you want? Perhaps it is your lack of understanding about the two basic business models used today. Do you know the difference between a Business to Consumer model and a Business to Business model. Which one are you and is it the right one for your business?There are basically two kinds of businesses – 1. Business to Consumer and 2. Business to Business.Business to Consumer is the model that we all have the most experience with and the one that causes small businesses the most trouble and confusion. Business to Consumer is the Retail Model. It is based solely on product, pricing and convenience. Quality is not as important as a quick fix for a short term problem. You need a new suit, you are hungry, you need a new dishwasher. Choices are usually easy and quick. That’s great for large department and discount stores as well as fast food chains. Consumers want a quick in and out experience. One day, a certain store will be closer for that quick fix or having a special sale on their merchandise. The next day, another store may be more convenient and offer a better price. There is absolutely no consumer loyalty and not much of any repeat business. They profit on volume and short term sales.Can you see what a dead end street this is for your business? First of all, it’s tough to compete with larger competitors who can offer low pricing and have deep pockets. You are out of your league and will always be scrambling for more business.If you have been struggling under the Business to Consumer model and are wondering why,? – you have the answer now. You are a little fish in a very big pond. With this model, that is all you will ever be.The Business to Business model is the one you want. This model doesn’t focus on quick sales. It has a slower buying process because Business to Business is relationship based. Your “bigness” as a fish in this pond is your reputation for service and quality and even more importantly, your FOLLOW UP. Your goal is to build trust and to make the customer happy. You want your customer to feel loyalty toward you and what you sell or do. This will produce longevity in your business and repeat customers and referrals. It will take time. Business building is not a sprint – it is a marathon! When you build a trusting relationship with a client, price and convenience are no longer the main criteria for purchase. Did you just hear that? They know you, trust you and like you. They really don’t want to look any further for a solution to their problem. You solve their problem without worry. This is the basis for business development and growth – not hit and run, one trick pony selling! Now you truly have no competition. Once you get that concept, your efforts at building client relationships will grow quality referrals and lifelong business relationships. This must always be your goal.