Increase your chances of winning work with effective bids

December 8, 2008

In addition to ensuring that your PPH profile is as comprehensive and professional as possible, the other most important element of success in winning work on PPH is your ability to submit effective proposals (bids) to prospective clients.

Here are some tips on how to make your bids as effective as possible and make them stand out:

1. Tailor each proposal

While there is nothing wrong with having a proposal template as a starting point, you should always remember that templates are there to be customised. Sending generic proposals is one of the most common mistakes and it hardly ever works as clients can easily spot a proposal that has been simply ‘copied and pasted’.

Instead, put in the time to go through the project requirements properly, give thought to your proposal and tailor it to address all the points/requirements of the project.

2. Describe your approach/process

Clients often know what they would like to achieve (e.g. they need a company website) but not what is involved in the process or how it’s done. Giving a high-level outline of the process you will follow to achieve the result they are after is a quick way to build rapport and win the client’s confidence.

3. Highlight your strengths/experience

Do not be shy to highlight any relevant experience/projects you have completed and highlighting your skills – clients need to be convinced that you are qualified to complete their project successfully. Do not go overboard when selling yourself and if you are giving big projects as examples of your work, explain clearly what your exact involvement was.

4. Be concise

Clients usually receive many proposals, so it’s important to be concise and make each word count. Do not labour obvious points and use easy to understand language without too much jargon.

Bigger, more complex projects will probably require more detailed proposals but it’s worth keeping in mind that too much detail from the outset might make the project appear daunting to the client.

5. Ask questions – don’t overpromise

If you are not clear about any of the project requirements, ask questions instead of promising that you can deliver the world. One of the most common causes for problems during projects is poorly defined requirements.

While only the client can provide you with the necessary detail and information, it is up to you to ensure that you have gathered all the information by asking the right questions and filling any gaps in the requirements.

6. Show enthusiasm

Let the client know that you excited about the prospect of working together on this, and possibly future projects.

Clients are much more likely to hire someone who shows interest and enthusiasm about their project and business instead of someone that comes across as wanting to get the project done as quickly as possible and get paid.

7. Review your proposal

Always remember to carefully review your proposal. Proof-read what you have written to ensure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes but always also review the proposal as if you were the client i.e. by trying to put yourself in the client’s shoes.

It is always a good idea not to review your proposal right after you have written it as it will be difficult to spot; work on something else for a couple of hours if possible and then revisit your proposal.

When reviewing your proposal try to determine if it’s engaging, if the benefits of hiring you are clearly stated and most importantly, if it makes a prospective client confident that you can deliver.

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