Your firm has received a request for a consulting proposal (RFP). A solid proposal will give you a good shot at getting the new project. You need to do a thorough job because if you don’t your “hungry” competitors will. Especially when you’re just staring out in the business of consulting there will be lots of pressure to pull a proper proposal together and submit it before the competition gets their act together.
Many consultants are under the false impression that the first proposal received is the first proposal considered. If you have ever watched figure skating competitions, you know that it is an extreme disadvantage to be the first skater to be judged because that skater’s performance becomes the standard to beat. This is often the case for the first received proposal. You do not want to be the standard to beat when it comes to proposal submission.
Your consulting firm needs to focus on putting its best foot forward. Your proposal should be completed in a manner that reflects the quality of your practice and emulates the quality of work the client can expect by hiring your company. The reality is that business proposals will be circulated through the client’s key decision makers and a tentative decision will most likely take a few weeks. Rather than rush to submit, slow the pace and demonstrate your value.
Be Unique – Never Generic
Consultants must focus on the client’s request for proposal and not on the actions or identity of possible competitors. What counts is how your consulting firm measures up to the project at hand, not how you measure up against the competition.
A certain amount of arrogance in your preparation may well work to your favor. Regard this opportunity as your project to lose, not as a competitor’s project to win. Doubtless you will analyze the project specifications and make sure that each component is addressed.
Your firm is unique, has unique value, unique expertise and unique solutions. Your proposal should clearly specify your strengths and unique qualities. Separate yourself from the pack with references, flexible services and budget controls. Detail your experience and support your claims with factual data.
As your services are unique, so are your references and accomplishments. Dedicate a section of your proposal to detail these factors. Clients want to have tangible reasons for selecting a consultant. Make sure your proposal provides support for your selection.
Tech it Up
Your proposal must be void of generic information. Too many consulting firms have pre-packaged proposal kits. This is an immediate client turn-off with no luster.
Regardless of the size of your consulting practice, your proposal must display your high-tech expertise and innovation. Utilize business document creation software to highlight your uniqueness. Insist that the design of your proposal keeps your firm in the running to the end.
Just as your proposal’s design must make a statement, so must your ability to oversee the basics. Proofread every page. Avoid all grammar and spelling flaws. Use concise verbiage that eliminates loose and ambiguous language. This is your project, so follow it over all the hurdles to the finish line.