A couple years ago I did a consultation to critique the proposal that Chicago-based firm, Rogue Element, was submitting for projects in their target market, higher education. They were doing okay with it but thought it could be improved.
Among the suggestions I made was to reverse the order of the information – talk about them first, then about you.
This is the proposal that won them 67% of the projects they went after in 2011, much of it through that dreaded RFP process.
So I recently asked Allison Manley to describe the “before” and “after” of the changes they made to their proposal (Theirs is one of 11 examples you’ll find in the Designer’s Proposal Bundle).
• Better structure. Says Manley, “In the previous proposal, the first several pages were all about us and we didn’t talk about them until a good half way through. You suggested we flip flop the order. That alone made a huge difference in our approach.”
• Improved design/layout. The “before” proposal wasn’t their best example of design work. So they focused on improving the type hierarchy, making it clear and concise so that even at 19-24 pages, it’s easy for the reader to get through.
• Customized case studies: “We got smarter about presenting our case studies, and we still rewrite and personalize them constantly, depending on what the prospect is asking for.”
Of the 19 pages in Rogue Element’s proposal, 4 are dedicated to explaining the client’s goals and objectives, then offering detailed recommendations. “A client loves it when they see you understand their problem and you discuss how you’re going to solve it.”
Also, their pricing is outlined with just enough detail but not too much, because giving someone a page with numbers doesn’t tell them anything. It just enables them to compare prices — and probably not even apples-to-apples. It especially doesn’t explain the value of what they’re buying.
Want to see exactly how Rogue Element’s explains that value? Find it in the Designer’s Proposal Bundle.