Many people ask me, "Deepak, how do I build a proposal for a client?"
Running the PixelTrack® agency for the past 5 years and now we have built a lot of proposals, pitched most of them, got rejected in many cases, and won a few good ones.
Most of the clients we have worked with at PixelTrack came from my personal network. Because of my consistent efforts in content publishing, I have been able to build a brand name in the market.
Some clients reach out to us (or me) directly and ask if we can help them. In some cases, I reach out to potential clients and tell them that I am interested in helping them with marketing.
If it is a big client, we make sure that we visit their office and have a meeting with them. Ideally at Bangalore.
In certain cases, we have also got them to visit our office. (Our recent investment in building an agency office in Bangalore has been one of the best investments in the business).
Our first meeting is generally a discovery meeting. We first ask the client the following questions in one way or the other:
- Are you charging your customers adequately or are you underpricing?
- Why do you think you are not able to charge what you want, at the volumes you want? What do you think is your challenge?
- Who are your competitors? Are they doing better than you? If yes, why do you think so?
These questions are tough to ask. The general attitude in a meeting with a potential client is to start giving out a lot of information hoping that they will be impressed with what you have to say and give you the project.
But the client is not interested in what you have to say. The client is only interested in his/her own business challenges and the best way to talk about it is to ask the right questions.
When you ask the right questions to the client, they will start thinking about the challenges they already have. The pain points are not always at the surface. If you unearth the pain points with the right questions, you are adding salt to the wound and they become more inclined to find a solution than they were before.
After this initial discovery meeting, you can build a proposal for them.
A proposal should contain the following segments:
- About you
- About the client
- About the client's product and target segment (the product that you are going to help promote)
- The solution (a high-level approach)
- The methodology (how your solution is different from the competition)
- Execution plan
- The pricing
All the information can be added to a simple word document and shared with the client. Or it can be added in a fancy-looking keynote or PPT file. It doesn't matter. What matters is the pitch and how the pitch is delivered.
Ideally, the first time you run the client through the proposal, do it in person. Do not send the proposal and the pricing before the 2nd meeting.
The price is always going to be a surprise and it should come only out of the salesperson's pitch. Because while presenting the pricing, the objections can be handled instantly.
Once you propose the pricing, you will not get an instant yes. The client, in most cases, will say "I will get back to you."
Give it a few days to a week. They will get back with a pricing objection (in most cases). Make room for some negotiation when you are presenting the price for the first time. You have to make enough room so that the client feels like they are getting a deal.
Get back with the new pricing, and close the deal. Start the work and get the results. One client at a time, one project at a time. That's how you build a good marketing agency.