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Feel The Fear… And Pitch Anyway: 6 Simple Rules To Win Any Proposal
Having worked with many very successful entrepreneurs, a common trait that I have noticed is that most have no hesitation in putting a proposal to someone. They see an opportunity and they act on it. If this means asking someone else to do business with them, or to buy something, they do it.
Whilst I always encourage entrepreneurs and small business owners to be brave enough to put a proposal or a pitch to someone, there are a few rules that I think make the difference between success and failure.
Clearly if you are not known to the other party, you need to establish a degree of credibility. Much of their decision on whether to do business with you or not will come from how you present your idea, how you present yourself and how professional you are. Here are six rules that I always follow:
Do you your homework. Find out what you can about the person or organisation you are putting your proposal to. It is also important to find out if there is anything relevant happening at the moment which might mean you should hold off for a while. For example if the business is going through a restructure, sale or major purchase, they might not be that open to your proposal right now. Timing is always important and it is often the difference between success and failure.
Look the part. This means you need to look the part when you are presenting your proposal, you need to be organised, professional and have appropriate stationery, like a quality business card. If you don’t look credible, your chances of success will be reduced.
Be specific about what it is you want and what is in it for the person you are putting the proposal to. All too often people make presentations or pitches without very clear and specific details. This, once again, makes you look unprofessional and disorganised. Structure your proposal like this – some background, the opportunity, how it would work, what you need, what is in it for them, a time frame and where to from here?
Rehearse your sales pitch, offering answers to all of the hard questions you are going to be asked. A well rehearsed sales pitch will have far more chance of succeeding than one that is done off the cuff.
Make sure you have a printed proposal to leave behind. This should be a summary of what you spoke about, the key points and a little background about who you are and in a more subtle way, why they should do business with you. This is all about enhancing your credibility.
Be clear about the “where to from here” when you finish. The meeting should finish with a clear plan of attack. It might be an end – the other party may say they are simply not interested. Alternatively, it is a commitment that you will meet again in one week. Or call in three days, or whatever is relevant. What is important is to not leave with a vague discussion about what comes next. Don’t be overly pushy, but most people prefer clarity about the next step.
When putting a proposal to someone you need to come across as confident, knowledgeable and clear. Following these six simple rules will certainly give you an advantage and if you have delivered a solid case, with enough incentive for the other person to buy what you selling, you chances of success are greatly increased. And never, ever be afraid to put a proposal to someone, no matter who they are. You might just be surprised by the result you get.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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