Our proposals represent us to a client when we aren’t present. Many times we only get one chance to make an impression, so below are five reasons your proposal didn’t win the business.
1. You didn’t understand what the client wanted. You have an easy to create proposal, but the proposal didn’t do anything for the client, because it didn’t respond to the client’s request. In sales, one of the best tips I can give you is to listen.
2. Your proposal didn’t look professional. Yes, even the proposal must look professional. The way you present everything to a client is a statement about how you perform. It’s not just at the event where you’re demonstrating your professionalism. This started the moment you answered their first call to the moment you sent the proposal. If you are not getting past this point, perhaps this is where you need some development. Often times, the person making this investment is a professional (corporate and non-corporate) with money to invest. You must look the part at all times, even if it’s for a 16 year olds birthday. Obviously, the 16 year old isn’t paying the bill.
3. Your proposal is difficult to follow. A proposal is very basic, yet sometimes we manage to make the process confusing. Keep this part of the sales process simple. A proposal is simply a tool to respond to a client’s request. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate how you can solve their challenge.
The basic elements of a proposal should be the requested events in chronological order for the reader to follow. Start off with a basic itinerary of the events and then the events for each day to follow. If you have several ideas for an event, include all of those events in that particular section together.
4. Your proposal doesn’t demonstrate that you are creative. The name of the game in event planning is creativity. If you are an event planner in a unique destination, then you will have something to offer potential clients that they cannot get anywhere else. For example, what Las Vegas offers is different from what New York offers. If you are a planner competing for business in your local area, then you will have to stand out. Why should someone use you? What do you have that I cannot get from this planner that I use every year for my banquet? My mantra is simple when it comes to creativity: if someone does not want to “Tweet it”, “Share it”, “Like it”, then it’s not creative. Don’t waste an opportunity when you have potential clients. This can be easily solved by finding new vendors or going back to your old vendors and asking what they have now that’s really popular, interactive, and/or interesting.
5. Your ideas are dated. If you and your team are still using ideas from 3 years ago, don’t be surprised that they are not selling. Stay abreast of what is not selling well for you each year. Be careful! This is a quick way to lose business and blame other reasons when the truth is, you’re out of date. Don’t get rid of what is working. If you have something that continues to sell that is unique to your area, then by all means, keep doing it. I love creative ideas and they keep us all in business, however this is a business. If it’s working for you and it’s been 20 years, keep selling it.