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The "Create a Proposal" Lesson is part of the full, Finding Clients as a Freelancer course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul demonstrates how to create a proposal. Key components of a proposal are why the work is necessary, the mutually agreed upon objectives, value the work has to the company, pricing options, and how to measure success of the project.


Transcript from the "Create a Proposal" Lesson

>> Let's talk about proposals, right? Cuz I really wanna give you as much as I can about how I do it. Whether that's always gonna be suited to you and your situation, I don't know. First thing to say is in many cases, the proposal for me is gonna be a formality.

The client has already decided they want to work with me before they even contacted me. And, I've discussed budget, I've discussed scope. It's all been agreed and that the proposal really is a matter of me writing that all down so that it's in a written format. However that said, I do make an effort with my proposals simply because I know other people might read them, right?

So I'm actually gonna show you what I include in my proposals cuz one of the weird things is that everybody seems to be really secretive about this stuff. And it's like that's his secret sauce that winds and work. And it's like you never get to see other people's proposals so what the heck, let's do it.

So this is the, I use a tool called qwiil, I think I might have a link in here somewhere. And I like it because you've got templates. And you can just fill in the template, and it does it a lot faster. So yeah, basically the first section in my proposals is called engagement evaluation.

And I just start by explaining the need that they have for my help, why they want me. I avoid talking about the company because they already know who they are, so many people start their proposals, so and so is a SME in the retail sector. Well, they know that, why are you telling them that.

But to repeat back to them why they need to hire you, well, that's a whole another ball game. The second section I have is objectives, where I outline a small number of objectives that the project should deliver. For example, one objective might be to increase the number of leads.

So that really focuses people on the benefits that working with me will provide, because those are the objectives they're trying to reach. Then we've got measures of success. By the way, these blue bits in between their testimonials from various clients. They're always good to put in, especially if they're big names, it always helps.

Anyway, measures of success. So for each of my objectives, we need a way of knowing whether those objectives have been achieved or not. So I write down some how we're gonna measure success, and that reassures the client and sets you up for more work when you can actually demonstrate success.

When you go back at the end of the project, and go look, we agreed with these, I've delivered all of these, then they're more likely to hire you again. So I include that in there. Next section is the value. Now a lot of people skip over this, the value to the company.

For each of my objectives, I attempt to tie it to a tangible, ideally monetary return, right? Doing this makes your price look a lot more reasonable. Now we go into a conversation about pricing over lunch, and the subject value brace pricing came up. This idea of your fee is related to the benefit that it provides.

It's a really tricky one to do. And in most cases, for the type of work I do at least, I haven't been able to make it work. But what I have taken away from value-based pricing is this idea of showing the value that you are going to be providing ideally in monetary terms, so I do that.

Then we get into the methodology. Now, so this is more what I'm gonna do, but I always create options for people, right? I always try and offer a client multiple options, so normally it's three. And basically there's one that is going to come in just under their budget, right, so whatever we agreed the budget should be.

Then we're gonna do a second one that's slightly higher than their budget, with a few extra bells and whistles that are appropriate. And then the third one, I totally ignored their budget and just spec it up as if I was doing it as good as I possibly could, right?

Amazing, it's amazing how many times they end up picking the deluxe version, right? If you always stick within their budget that the client has said, you're throwing away good work, basically. And you're not always giving the client the best solution either because you're having to stick within the budget they've given you.

Then after that, I get into basically how great I am. So I have a section that outlines the benefits you in particular provide. So define both why you're a right fit, but also why you're not. Now that may seem a strange thing to do. So just to give you a snippet of how I do that, I say at the end, ultimately whether you hire me comes down to your ambitions for digital.

If you consider digital key to your long-term business success, I'm probably the right choice. However, if it is seen as an important but secondary component, there may be better and cheaper suppliers, right? So I'm positioning myself in a very particular place in the market. And I begin that section by saying I'm not the cheapest option there, right?

So don't be afraid to exclude yourself sometimes because actually saying what you're not reinforces what your others aren't. Sounds like that's kicked off something in the chatroom, doesn't surprise me, often creates a reaction. Yeah, what you got Mark?
>> Does the deluxe version cost a lot less or bit less than the value to the company?

>> The deluxe version, the value to the company, I don't even try and tie it to the value of the company, right? As I'd say over lunch, I think am getting myself in such trouble with the people that promote value-based pricing. And I've got a good friend, Jonathan Stock, who really pushes value based pricing.

And to his credit, has made it work really well for himself. So I don't know what he's doing that I'm not. But I haven't managed to get value-based pricing to feel like I'm not just ripping people off. And I understand in principle of tying the value you provide to the value that you, sorry, the value that you charge to the value you create.

I do I understand that in principle. But, you can't make the guarantees that you will provide the value that you say you'll provide. I think it's very hard in most situations to do that. So I don't tend to work in that way. So my deluxe version really is just priced at whatever I think the right way of doing this project is.

And I just basically, no budget is a constraint. Now it may work out. I mean, obviously, I don't ever allow that figure to go over the potential value that I think I can bring in, otherwise it's not the right solution, is it? If it's gonna lose the company money, then it can't possibly be the right solution for them.

So it will come under that figure, but it may not come under it by a lot, at least in the first year. It may even make a slight loss in the first year, but then over subsequent years it'll make it up. So yeah, I don't tie it that closely or pay that much attention.

But that's just me, I mean, there are other ways of doing this stuff. Okay, then I get into logistics, how long is it gonna take? Who's gonna do it? What's the role of both myself and the client? All of that kind of stuff. And then actually, because I use this app called Quiller, allows me to create an interactive pricing table that lets people pick whatever option they want, lets them change certain criteria.

So for example, I often do usability testing, and they can change the number of people I do testing with to adjust the price. They get it all right as they want it, they click the Accept button, and then they can actually sign there and then within the app.

I don't always do it that way. Because for example, when I'm working with very large organizations, they all have their own T's and C's. They have their own procurement policies and all the rest of that, and so my T's and C's almost always get rejected in that situation.

But where I can, I do it all within the app. So that's my proposals and kinda gives you a sense of those. Now there's one thing that, I don't know whether you've spotted it, but there's something that's been missing from my process here. Something that is very normal and normally appears but hasn't, and that's pitching.

I don't pitch, okay? And I think if you can build the process that I've talked about here, and if you can get through all of the, if you can build up that audience, if you can nurture that audience, if you can handle them right as they come in, then you're not gonna have to pitch for work, right?

Because the client will already know they want to work with you. And occasionally, there was a period of time when I would do the occasional pitch because the company had said so, we've got to procurement and yeah, I'm sorry we have to do a pitch. I mean, I'd only ever do them if they basically turned around and said yeah, we are gonna go with you but we have to jump through the hoops.

These days I'm very fortunate, and I'm actually at the point where I say, look, if you're going out to tender, I'm not taking part in this. Even if you turn around to me and say we want you, cuz I think that's unfair to the other people that have been played along, right?

So I don't play in that game at all now but I fully recognize that's only because I'm now in a privileged position. But what you will find is that the amount of pitching you have to do considerably drops off, because people are coming to work with you, you're not just another supplier.

So really that's all I wanted to say on that. I do wanna leave you with that checklist. I'm doing a checklist at the end of each of the sections. So most of my checklist for turning leads into projects. Get yourself a CRM to track every lead that comes in, you won't regret it.

It's a little bit money but it's a business expense well-worth paying. Pursue every lead to destruction, don't give up people, keep going. Arrange a call with any lead as soon as possible, get them on the phone, get them on Zoom. It makes a huge difference to building the relationship.

When talking to a client act like an advisor not as a supplier. They've been used to you being advising them and giving them advice, they want you to carry on doing that. They don't want you to suddenly turn into, I don't know, one of the servants in Downton Abbey going yes sir, no sir, whatever you want sir.

Be that advisor they've come to expect. Ensure your proposals demonstrate value, the value that you're going to bring. And offered lots of different options, at least when three is about right actually, never offer a single option because there's always opportunities to upsell. So I've hit you with a lot of stuff in this workshop, and there are a lot of steps involved and it's gonna take you time to process all of that.

But just as you go away from today, I wanna try and leave you with just the basic next steps, right? You can come back and go over this material as many times as you need to. I suggest you come back to it as you're going through it. So watch each section as you're implementing it, but just to give you the next steps to get you going.

Step one, decide on who you wanna work with, that's all you got to do to begin with. Step two, work on that survey so that you can better understand those people and what they need, the problems that they're facing, etc. And make contact with them by doing that.

Then you wanna build that landing page with the associated email course and you'll report to encourage more sign ups. And then you wanna nurture the relationships over time via email. And get organized with how you deal with those incoming leads.

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