How To Create Winning Proposals in a Fraction of the Time

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FreedomFor the longest time my proposals were ugly. I used to believe that substance was much more important than image. I believed that if my proposals had meaningful insights, clear deliverables and timelines, and reasonable pricing, they would win over customers.

I remember one story from a job I had a long time ago, where I was doing retail leasing for a shopping center investment firm. My boss made me wear a suit and tie every day even though most days I just sat in the office making cold calls to retailers. To me this seemed arbitrary and I resented it. My boss one day gave me lecture about how important image is to business, and that every little detail and interaction should be managed. I thought this was ridiculous at the time. I believed if you offered value, the substance is what mattered. I didn’t believe in Image and I thought my boss was superficial and shallow.

Now I Know How Wrong I Was!!!

Image is arguably the most important thing. Perception is reality. Being the best doesn’t matter nearly as much as being perceived as the best. Why leave this up to chance.

Dan Kennedy writes about a high end dentist practice he was trying to build up. So, he rented a bunch of luxury cars and randomly parked them in front of the dental practice to create the impression that his client was doing well. People want to do business with successful people.

It was no wonder that many of my old proposals fell on deaf ears. I put hours of research and analysis into them and believed they were valuable in and of themselves. But, my packaging was terrible. My interactions were sloppy. I basically sat down and wrote a really long email with my proposal in it. No wonder it hardly ever worked.

The worst part about this strategy was the amount of time it took to write from scratch. Half of what I wrote was redundant from previous proposals, but I had no way to tap into them.

Than, one day I was meeting with a mentor and she said, “Hey, Your Proposals Suck! You Need to Fix Them ASAP!”

So, first I checked if there were any decent proposal templates in Google Docs, but didn’t find any. Than I searched Google and discovered a bunch of companies selling proposal software, but it was insanely expensive. I am talking about hundreds or thousands of dollar a month. Clearly those aren’t meant for me.

Luckily, I happened upon a company called BidSketch. They offered a free trial, so I waited til I had a proposal that needed writing and signed up. This software seemed perfect. It had pre built proposals for various online marketing gigs including SEO, Web Development, Content Writing, and general consulting. The cost was only $29 a month, and they even offered a free year if I write an honest review. Honestly, I have been very happy with them, and have been using them and paying for their service for several months now. I decided to write this review because I really believe in their system, and also am ok with doing it because I no followed the link and disclosed here that I get a free year by writing this post. Yay!

The system isn’t perfect, and there are some things I would change about it, but it definitely cut my time down from several hours to about a half hour or so.

More importantly, my close rate went up to close to 70% with my proposals.

The process is simple, you add your clients info into the client section and than when you want to create a new proposal, it dynamically plugs in your clients info. This means that you can create templates for the bulk of the proposal and the system will build it automatically. bidsketch1

Once I add a client, I pick a template and it gives me options to add and remove sections. Basically, i built templated sections for various services that I offer, and than mix and match as needed for each client. I of course can go in and make edits to whatever section I need to.

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It’s also super simple to add sections from my old proposals and save them so I can use them in any proposal I send in the future.

The main problems I have with their system are the fees section. It has the option to create yearly fees, one time fees, monthly fees, but no hourly rates or percentage of ad spend rates. Since you are working withing a defined template, all I can do is add a cost into the text. This gets really complicated for me, but I deal with it as best I can.

The other major issue I get frustrated with is the format that it uses to send the proposal. Since they offer analytics like notifications when the proposal is viewed, or when it is accepted by the client, they send your visitors to a webpage. I wish there was a simple option to forgo on this feature and send it as a PDF. In order for me to do this I have to download it as a pdf and send it myself.

There are also lots of features that I never really played around with yet. For example they integrate with others services, but I haven’t tried doing that.

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I am sure there are some other nifty features within the system, and in the works, and perhaps I will invest the time into importing all my historical proposals into here. I just wish there was a better way to organize the proposal sections. I guess like most things in life, the more time and energy you put into it, the better result you will get out of it.

I do hope they start adding things like a proposal marketplace or shared templates, etc… After all, once i write a winning proposal, I wish I could sell it for a few bucks to other bidsketch users. All in all, it is a great core product, and I hope they start adding features… Especially SPELL CHECK 🙁

All in all, I plan on staying a bidsketch customer for a long time, and hope they integrate with Zapier so I can start importing prospects back and forth, etc…

If you want to write winning proposals that close at a high rate without breaking the bank, I highly recommend you check out BidSketch, just take it for a (free trial) spin.

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About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $15,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.

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