Consulting Proposals – Five Steps to 100% Acceptance For Larger Assignments

How would you feel when the next time you sit down to write your management consulting proposal that you KNOW for sure it is going to be accepted?

My guess is you are going to feel pretty good.

As a bonus “feel good moment” how might you feel if you know you are going to be receiving higher fees! Probably even better!

How do you do this on your next proposal?

I know this may sound obvious. So here goes. Simply said, obtain verbal approval before it is submitted! Is this simple to say, but not easy to do?

Here is the main issue. The proposal should be a formalized written agreement of something already established and agreed upon between the consultant and economic buyer. It should not be a quote for work to be done that still needs to be approved. How often do your proposals represent already agreed upon concepts, objectives and fees or is some of it left open and undetermined, waiting for the proposal to close the deal?

Setting this process up right and then following through with this process is how you can write proposals that you know are going to be accepted 100% of the time.

At some point, there comes a time, between every client and consultant to talk about fees. Sadly, many consultants are afraid and don’t do it.

Invariably, they skip this step, go to write the proposal and then they end up playing a mental game with themselves, wondering if they are charging enough, or perhaps too much and then usually end up undercharging for the value and benefits they provide by setting fees lower than what they should just to try and get a proposal accepted. Has this ever happened to you?

Wouldn’t it feel absolutely wonderful to know that when you sit down to formally write the proposal, you know that your plan and fees are going to be accepted? Of course it would.

Five steps to 100% approval. Here is what you need to do.

First, it is important to build a right relationship with your client’s economic buyer, (the CEO, business owner), where you are seen as the trusted advisor, and obvious expert, with peer level respect.

Secondly, you have asked lots of good business and individual questions in a determining the issues and opportunities with this economic buyer.

Third, you have monetized the value of these issues and opportunities, WITH, the economic buyer, together.

Fourth, you have actually had the discussion with the economic buyer, looked him or her in the eye, and discussed the fees — or at least bracketing them — you propose and received approval prior to writing the proposal.

Fifth, you write a proposal in the context of the portfolio of solutions and expertise you plan to deliver, relative to the objectives and goals the client wants to be achieved, within the range of fees you have already received approval for.

Imagine this final process being similar in some ways to purchasing of a large item, such as a house. The documents are written up, AFTER the terms and prices have already been agreed to. Similarly, keep that concept in mind when going to write your next proposal, get all the main aspects already approved/agreed to, including your fees.

If you have done your work right, you have set this up for success and then the CEO will accept the plan and the fees on the basis of the return on investment that should be perceived as a drop in the bucket compared to the value and benefit that he or she is looking for.

And lastly, because you have established yourself as trusted advisor and obvious expert with peer level respect, when you write the proposal, it will be accepted because you are the only right choice.

This is how you get 100% acceptance of your proposals.

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