A snapshot into the lives of the people who hire us
Is your proposal a deal-breaker?
David Ingersall, executive vice
president, strides into the conference
room to make the final decision about
the speaker for his upcoming leadership conference. Laptop in tow, just in
case anyone wants to see DVD demos
again, meeting planner Melissa is waiting with proposals from four “
finalists.” Pleasantries out of the way,
Melissa presents him with the committee’s recommendation.
“So, what’s Ridley Ridgette going to
do for us?” David asks.
“Well, here’s his proposal if you’d
like to skim it,” Melissa responds.
The EVP skims the first page and
drops it back on the table. “I just read
the entire executive summary. It’s all
about what a great guy Ridley Ridgette
is. Didn’t you tell him our objectives
for this meeting?”
“He gets into the objectives over on
page 2,” Melissa explains.
David flips the page, scans furthers
and looks up again. “Lots of big promises here. Can’t be done in a 60-minute
keynote. Does he know this is a 12-
month initiative for us?”
“We explained that. I think he does
—there’s a six-figure price tag in here,”
“I expected so,” David says. “But so
far, I don’t see anything mentioned
about how he’s going to accomplish
these miracles—except a long description of his keynote, along with the
‘resources’ he’s going to make available
and ‘consulting’ services over the next
Melissa looks a little sheepish. “Do
you want to set up a conference call
with him? Our committee has already
talked to him once. And there’s lots of
information on his Web site.”
“Bio looks vague, too,” David continues. “What does he bring to the
table that others don’t?”
“Well, I . . . 20 years of personal
experience selling,” she says.
“They all have personal experience.
That’s why they call it personal. What
exactly is he going to DO? And HOW
is he going to it? Not much detail here.
Looks like a cut-and-paste job.”
Melissa gestures toward her laptop,
“Do you want to see his demo? He’s
really great on the platform.”
The EVP tosses the proposal back on
the table. “You have a second choice?”
Where did Ridley blow his chances?
He failed to answer the key questions
executives want answered in proposals
that win large contracts:
The Value Proposition: What can you
do for me? What problems can you
solve? How can you improve our operations? Grow our revenue? Improve life
for our employees? Expand/change our
vision? Where’s the payback/profit?
The How: How are you going to do
what you propose? How do I know it’s
suitable for my organization? What’s
your approach? What typical results
can I expect? What’s the timeline on
those results? What’s the guarantee—
can you remove the risk for me?
Credentials: Are you the best person
for the job? Why are you uniquely
qualified? What’s your track record?
In what industries? For what clients?
Memory Aids: What have you given me
here to pass on to everybody who needs
to sign off or buy in to this decision?
In case your buyers think like David,
make sure your proposals provide
answers that others have overlooked.
Dianna Booher, MA, CSP, CPAE, speaks
on communication topics: oral, written,
interpersonal and organizational. Her latest
of 43 books is The Voice of Authority: 10
Communication Strategies Every Leader
Needs to Know (McGraw-Hill). To learn
more, visit www.Booher.com.