To win a proposal, you need a phenomenal offer. But how you present that offer is also crucial to getting the proposal approved because your presentation or how well your proposal is written plays an important part in how well the offer is received. We get seven seconds to make a first impression and one-third of consumer purchasing decisions are based on products and the company’s visual representations.
A study by the Wharton Research Centre also showed that using visuals has a dramatic effect on message retention after 3 days – with 50% message retention for visual slides and only 10% for bullet points. Proposals are, by definition, fairly complex documents. The key to presenting them well is to keep them simple, which helps the buyer to navigate the proposal and find the information they need. Here are the most important elements a well-written simple proposal needs to have:
1. Introduction: This is simple. Your introduction should include a cover letter discussing who you are as a business, what you’re offering and why you’re the perfect company for the job. You should also write what action you want the potential client to take after they give your proposal some thought and consideration. This page would naturally have all your contact details so that the client can easily reach you when he’s ready to make an agreement or send an email with their response. The cover isn’t a necessary part of the proposal, however, it should still contain an introduction whenever appropriate.
2. Work/Project description: You can write a brief description of the project so everyone involved (granted you’re not doing it alone) is on the same page. This also eliminates misunderstandings about what everybody’s task or responsibilities are and the possibility of getting asked to shoot more than what was originally agreed.
3. Deliverable: What value can the client expect from your team’s InDesign software expertise? Are you offering something new? What sets it apart from others who can also do a great design using a lower version or another type of editing or graphic design software? These are just the questions you need to address and you may also want to make it a bit more diverse to cater to a broader customer base. If not, you can include a section specifying what type of InDesign services you can provide and its limitations.
4. Deadline: When is the design or the project due? What schedule have you set for the client? Are you willing to work at 4-5 different dates for one service price? Will you be willing to adjust your schedule in case of changes?
5. Rights: As a business offering InDesign services, you rely on skill and your team’s talent to create the best output possible in adding value to a company’s brand so be sure to ask the client where the design is going to be used, whether they’re limited for web use only and across online platforms or if they’re going to extend to print promotional materials. In this case, the usage fee should be higher.
In a competitive and growing marketplace of graphic designers and artists whether its freelancing or through a business, on top of the demand to deliver quality designs, you’re also competing with other freelancers and service providers in the business that may be just as good as you or even better, so how do you make sure you’re not left to taste dust by the competition and have your share of the market’s customers?
1. Make it easy to read: It may be a professional document, but don’t assume every client knows the language of photography and business. Your future clients and grant-givers read the proposals before they get to judge your photographs. You can’t rely on your images and portfolio to do all the talking for what you can offer. You have to make an effort in accurately describing the type of work you make which means you’re going to have to convince people with words first before they can trust you with the InDesign project. You can also like proposal templates in InDesign.
2. Focus on the project goals: The moment you know or given the information of the type of project or work you’ll be doing and what it demands, your next step in writing the proposal is to make sure you stay on course and on top of the task. What are your goals? What are the project’s priorities? You have to be very specific in explaining the design you intend to do for the client and avoid making your pitch without a clear goal in mind because it will always show.
3. Indicate your responsibilities: Just as a well-written design proposal outlines what your obligations are, it should also clearly state what the client is responsible for providing. If you’re waiting on materials and supplies from your client, that means their delayed response to the project is also delaying your payments and profit. A detailed proposal is your assurance of holding the other party accountable for their share of the responsibility even though it’s not legally binding yet.
4. Submit a portfolio showcasing your ability to deliver: Don’t run the risk of selling yourself short by providing outputs that didn’t make much impact. Present your best designs because future clients need to trust and have confidence in your ability and believe that you’re going to give them compelling designs that would make their business more profitable. the quality of the portfolio you submit should show that you can deliver and that you’ll be able to complete the task on the expected time with quality ensured.
There are very few things that excite an artist more or a business that relies on its team of graphic designers to earn, than the idea of a brand-new design project. Whether it’s for branding, marketing, illustration, web or a product design project, it all boils down to nailing your proposal. Here are some more tips to write a proposal that can keep a steady stream of clients coming:
It’s not going to be simple but start by avoiding to put a price tag on each little component of a website or design project. Give your client options because that’s what empowers them to have more power over their buying decision. It’s also a great way to place your bets and set you apart from the competition.
It’s not necessary but it’s better to set everything clear from the very start. However, don’t send the client a lengthy document filled with lawyer jargon. Keep it simple and write in a plain, understandable language while still making it professional. If you’re up against a competitor who ends up sending 20-page terms and conditions document, this is an easy win for you.
Great proposals are the often overlooked, yet often one of the most powerful factors that can make your proposals (and your company) stand out and win more design projects. No one wants to read a 25-page proposal with a bunch of terms and conditions as well as drawn-out text. If you can say something with fewer words, then you should choose to do so. From a design perspective, simplicity wins and less always say more. Those are the basic fundamentals we have collected that graphic designers have proved to work well with design professionals over the years.