Proposal Rules To Live By

Nobody loves to do proposals but sometimes you have to, especially when your dream prospect says, “Please send me a proposal.”

In a recent interview about the proposal that has won Chicago-based design firm, Rogue Element a full 67% of the jobs they pursued in 2011, Allison Manley shares the rules she uses to decide which proposals and Requests for Proposal (RFPs) to answer.

  • Are they fishing or buying? “They must understand what they’re buying and not just be fishing. We will do them if we understand the goals and constraints very specifically and if it’s clear that the prospect has a very clear idea of what they’re looking for.”
  • Are their needs clear? Sometimes they’re not specific about their goals. They say, “We need print” but what does that mean? Brochures or postcards? An annual report and if so, what size?

“Also, good RFPs make it clear the prospect understands they’re buying the process, not just the product. And part of our task in the proposal is explaining how the process is going to work, not just focusing on the deliverable.”

Want to see exactly what’s in Rogue Element’s proposal? Find it in the Designer’s Proposal Bundle, along with 10 other actual samples for a wide variety of industries and project types.

And read Manley’s recent blog post with pointers for clients on how to write an RFP that attracts the best designers. Read that here.

Do you have any rules for which proposals you will and won’t do? If so, share them here.

One thought on “Proposal Rules To Live By

  1. Sheila

    I love your books, thanks for sharing such great tips! I actually just bought the Proposal Bundle, what a godsend. It really helped me figure out what I was doing, as well as focus my proposals; have already done two so far and both were winners! Thanks Ilise 🙂