Almost all service providers create proposals to their clients. Proposals are necessary so your client would know exactly what he or she gets when they work with you.
Writing a proposal is often the part of the sales process we don’t exactly enjoy. I know I don’t.
Because of that, whether you’re a marketing consultant or UX designer, or on any other field, it’s wise to learn as much as possible about the client needs before starting the proposal process.
But what should be on that proposal? What kind of proposals deliver the best results?
In my experience, proposals that are addressing the right problems and are personal.
At the same time, you should be spending as little time as possible on writing proposals.
As a result, many consultants and coaches have proposal templates. Whether these are excel proposal templates, Google Docs files, or PDF proposal templates.
Or, if you’ve used any proposal app in the past, you have used their ready-made proposal templates. I have mixed feelings about these templates, as there are usually too many of them to choose.
And they feel a bit generic. And they are, that’s why they’re called templates. Writing proposals using these templates is often like an exercise of being creative to fill in all the writing space reserved for the concrete proposal.
They do look professional, and that’s a big plus. Especially if you’re providing professional services. In some industries, just sending your offer via e-mail is completely fine. But in some industries, it looks unprofessional. For example, in the legal industry, you’ll do a lot better if your proposal communicates that you’re a professional.
But if you’re a copywriter, then it’s likely that you don’t need a professional-looking proposal.
The more personalised your approach is, the more special the client feels. If you can make them feel that you’re fully committed and focused on them, they’re a lot likelier to reciprocate and use your services.
This principle applies to any industry. But if we go back to these generic proposal templates, then we are losing an opportunity. Yes, you may have your logo there, client name even, but it’s well understood that it’s a template used for all clients.
This is one of the reasons I wasn’t that into the proposal software that is currently on the market. And I had been long testing different ways to reply to clients by recording a video instead of a written email reply.
I think it’s important to make it as personal as possible for each client. And only in-person meeting and a live video call is more personal than recording and adding a video to your proposal.
How To Add Video To Your Proposals?
When you’re looking to increase your productivity, then using a proposal template is a great way to reduce your time spend. But what about adding a video to the proposal template?
You probably can’t use the same video for all clients… unless it’s something generic.
Which means you’re also missing the opportunity to make your proposals really personal.
One option is to record a proposal video, and then upload the video to accompany your proposal template. But it’s awful a lot of extra steps. And sometimes you can only embed an external link, for example, a youtube video.
But it’s already a bit difficult sales process, as there are so many different parts to your proposals. Using a proposal software, then recording a video and uploading the video to youtube, and then taking the link and adding the link to your proposals.
And if you have a big sales pipeline, you might need to spend quite a lot of time doing these three or four-step processes (assuming you’re recording a personal video for each of your proposals).
Of course, having a big sales pipeline is better than having a small sales pipeline.
As a result of this rather clunky sales process I just described, we’ve built SendQu.
With SendQu, we enable easy proposal creation, in-app video or audio recording, which you can add to the proposal straight away. You don’t have to use any external apps or websites to get your video added to the proposals.
And you can record a personal video for each and every client.
We started testing this by replying to our client enquiries by short written email plus a recorded youtube video about a year ago.
And the responses we got were promising, as clients were happy to get more context about the topic they were enquiring about, and they could also see and hear us speak. This goes a long way when you’re trying to create trust with your proposals.
I Don’t Mind Written-Only Proposals & Using Excel / Docs
I didn’t either. Until it became really difficult to manage all the templates I had prepared. And sending out these templates at first via email, later via proposal template.
We have a consulting business where we provide legal and tax advisory services. It’s a field where you get a fairly large number of enquiries, if you’re findable on Google and do some paid advertising.
And usually, prospects talk to several service providers. It’s never only us competing for their attention.
Which means that we need to stand out. Our proposals need to stand out. Proposals don’t only have to be professional, but they have to be memorable. And a memorable proposal is a personal one.
So for me, email and excel proposals do not suffice. They are practical, yes, but they don’t have any visual appeal (a logo is the best you can add). And to some extent, they communicate that we’re old-fashioned. Which may not be a bad thing, but if you’re consulting blockchain and SaaS businesses, it’s a bit better if our brand looks and feels modern.
Another thing is doing stuff that matters. It’s a lot easier to click the “duplicate” button on a proposal template I have done in the past, record a new video on top of it, and not spend even 30-minutes changing and adjusting an excel file.
And one other thing is doing a follow up to the client. With apps like SendQu, the system does the follow up for you. It’s quite important because I have sent countless proposals which I forget to follow up (because I have new clients that are asking for new proposals), and which means I am simply losing a lot of business.
I know that this blog post has been a bit salesy, and I am hyping the software I built. But I truly believe in personalisation, and that personalisation is something which will have increasing importance in the business world.
There is less face to face meetings. Face to face is the best way to build a connection. But on many occasions, we don’t have that opportunity. Simply because business is global, and it’s not possible to travel to Australia just to meet someone before engaging in business (unless it’s a very high-ticket service, or it’s a niche market that is delicate, etc).
So, in many ways, apps have to do the work for us. Apps have to assist us in creating that personal connection. As weird as that sounds.
And this is the basis for the idea of building another proposal app.