July Spice Rack Newsletter
The Perfect Proposal
Just to be clear, we’re not talking about the down-on-one-knee kind of proposal. Today I’m focusing on that perfect proposal that will win the business.
I was reading an article recently about proposals that really work. Well, I found out that I’m moving in the right direction with the recent changes I’ve made in format and style.
You may have heard that telling a story is much more effective than just stating the facts. This is the main thing I hope you take away today. Tell stories! They worked thousands of years ago and will be a winning strategy for thousands more. It’s just the way our brains process information. It’s not trickery, just the way our cortexes have evolved over millennia.
If you’d like a hand in telling your story, we can help you with our StoryStyleTM methodology. It’s all about being different in the eyes of the prospect, showing empathy, being a guide and letting them be the hero.
The second-best thing that was in the article is the advice to edit your proposal mercilessly. Unfortunately, you’ll likely spend at least double the time you would have if you didn’t. But it’s a small price to pay compared to the alternative. They touched on a few of the ones below and I added another six.
Here are my 10 suggestions to reduce your embarrassment and greatly improve your chances of winning.
- Have you possibly copied and pasted something, but didn’t take the previous prospect’s name out of the old copy?
- Has spellcheck sabotaged you? Spelling, punctuation, tenses.
- Could you have used fewer biz buzzwords (unless they are the client’s preferred vernacular)?
- Are you consistent in your descriptions of the same things throughout the document?
- Is the information optimally organized?
- Could a narrative be better shared as bullet points?
- Could the opposite be true? If you’re trying to make an emotional point, you might want to back off the stats and talk feelings.
- If you make a claim, can you provide backup proof for that claim?
- Did you include at least one testimonial from a client that went through a similar purchase from you and was ecstatic?
- Could there be a picture/graphic or two to make the piece more eye-catching?
Going forward, consider yourself more of an author than a salesperson. Bring the appropriate style and grace for the audience, but dust it with a little personality and a surprise or two. Encapsulate that in a story and see what happens. Then you can take me to lunch.
A Little Pinch
What are you measuring anyway?
Every marketing tactic and tool has purpose. If it’s measurable, make sure you gather as much info as you can. Then, be very judicious as to how you analyze the results. Did your latest post garner 100x more clicks than average? Did you realize that it was a bunch of college kids that shared it because they thought it was clever and funny—but unfortunately will never become a customer?
Don’t just measure hits to a landing page, dig deeper to understand where they were generated from, and what visitors did when they got there (i.e., clickthroughs to other pages on your site, engaging with content, abandoning the site, etc.), so you can understand how to make improvements the next time. There are some sweet marketing automation tools out there that are woefully under-utilized. I would be happy to show you how to leverage that great content into an ROI you can trust.
A Song's Origin
One of my all-time favorite musicians is Joe Walsh from the Eagles and previously with the James Gang. He’s a virtuoso on the guitar and has written some iconic tunes. Do you love when you know how the origin of a song came about? Here’s one you’ll love!
Thyme to Celebrate
National Hot Fudge Sundae Day
Did you know that the hot fudge sundae was invented in the Midwest? Various accounts originated from three towns; two in Illinois, Plainfield and Evanston, and one story tied to Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Commonalities were the timing, somewhere between 1881 and 1890, and the fact that it was probably a druggist that started it, serving them at his counter. The Plainfield druggist was named Mr. Sonntag, which is “Sunday” in German. They win the creativity award for a spin on the story.
Whichever way you scoop it, be sure that you celebrate National Hot Fudge Sundae Day on July 25. The weather will likely be perfect for a little dietary pampering. Buy the ingredients, invite your neighbors, and make a Sundae Bar. I’ll bet it becomes an annual thing—and legendary.
From 68 Bits of Pithy Knowledge
When he turned 68, Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired magazine, compiled 68 nuggets he culled from his life. I’m continuing to share some of them with you. Should you want the full list, just let me know.
“Don’t take it personally when someone turns you down. Assume they are like you: busy, occupied, distracted. Try again later. It’s amazing how often a second try works.”
“Promptness is a sign of respect.”
“Optimize your generosity. No one on their deathbed has ever regretted giving too much away.”
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