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Sticks and Bricks

Creating proposals that sell

Have you ever wondered why your beautiful, well documented, detailed proposal doesn’t lead to the sale of the job?  Contrary to popular belief, it is not always the price.  And no, it is not necessary to give them even more detail.  In fact it’s often the details that kill the sale.

In reviewing contractor proposals I have noticed a common tendency that I will term selling “sticks and bricks.”  With this approach the contractor carefully lays out all the details needed to build the project, often in excruciating detail.  By the time the prospect has waded through the details of the proposal they have often lost site of the dream.

But, you may say, it is important to be specific; after all you must protect yourself.  Of course you want to make it clear what you are obligating yourself to provide and what is not included.  Yes, you want to make sure you get paid and there are no loopholes.  However before you worry about getting paid you need to be able to sell the project.  Wouldn’t it be nice to also sell the project so that it will actually be a profitable project?

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating proposals.  It is important to remember the dream – your customer’s dream, that is.  It is also important to make sure that your customer doesn’t get distracted by your proposal.  It is equally important that you don’t set yourself up to be nickeled and dimed by your customer or another contractor.  Most importantly, you want to stand out.

You want your prospect to see that you and your proposal will actually result in them having their dream become a reality.  You want your proposals to create a picture in your prospect’s mind.  That picture should be a picture of their finished project, not a pile of “sticks and bricks.”