When a client is making a decision about who to work with on a creative project, many things come into play.
- Portfolio of work on your website – Whether they like your style of work.
- Previous client list – Are they impressed with this?
- Personality – Whether they feel a connection with you before starting to work together
- Timeline – Can you deliver what they need when they need it?
- Recommendations – Is their proof from other clients that you really can do what you say you can.
- Budget – Can they afford you?
During the proposal stage, before a client has made a final decision, you will probably have at least a few touch points with them to help them make this decision. At each touch point you have to make a connection.
Touch points before a project starts can be:
– Face to face contact
– Skype Chat or Phone Call
– Project Proposal
The quote or proposal is most likely the final touch point before they decide to work with you or not. This is the deciding factor for many clients – So make it work for you.
Over the last year I have worked with over 50 clients helping them to find the right designer for their job, and seen many different kinds of quotes. Here are some of the factors I know can turn a client on or off working with you.
- How much information is the right amount?
This is a difficult balancing act, I have seen quotes that are 2 lines others that are 20 pages long. Both of these are not ideal.
Your potential client will have questions and this is your chance to show what they get for your time, to build their trust and confidence in you, and for them to feel secure that you are professional, upfront and organized in your business.
I think the ideal amount of information is approx. 6 pages.
Page 1 – Overview of brief goals of the project
Page 2 – Who you are introduce your team
Page 4 – Clearly set out costs with times and deliverables
Page 5 – Terms and conditions clearly showing what is included, and maybe more importantly what is not covered.
Page 6 – Chance to showcase what you can do – testimonials and other services.
- How to deliver the quote.
This can be a big decider, my main tip here is please don’t ever just send an email saying
This is my quote for the job discussed $XXXXX
I have many of these and when it is in a bidding situation presentation can make all the difference. You may be tight for time, or not want to spend a lot of time preparing a quote for work you may not get. But in my experience when you send a short and sloppy email, you will never get the job.
Have a pre-prepared document which is nicely designed, that you can just add the relevant information to and PDF.
Or use a proposal program – Such as
- Have you read the brief fully before sending your proposal?
I know this may seem like a silly question, but I have had people quote for work that has no relevance to the brief, add the wrong business name or client name into the proposal. Ask questions that are clearly stated in the brief.
When this happens you can kiss goodbye to winning that job.
Make sure you fully read what they want, ask relevant questions, and double check the information you are giving them in the proposal offers your potential client solutions to the creative problem they have.
- This is your final chance to shake your tail feather.
Yes you probably have an amazing website full of brilliant work, but your proposal is probably the last chance you have of leaving your potential client with a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Think of your proposal as an extension of your portfolio, brand your proposal, ensure it shows your design style or writing skills to the max.
Also make sure you add some examples of work, or maybe a case study that shows the value you added to previous clients. If you don’t do this you are missing a big opportunity to wow your potential client.
- What do they do next?
Make it easy for your clients to approve and pay the first installment of the invoice. Don’t leave the ball in their court to have to email you and say “Yes please I want to work with you, what do I do next?”
Giving your client one more thing to do could be one thing to many.
Make it super easy for them to say yes and to pay and seal the deal.
Add the first invoice to the proposal, with banking details or a Paypal pay now button.
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