Too often when I critique proposals and presentations I am left wondering as to what the real opportunity, the big idea or proposition for the prospect is. If I can’t see it, then neither will they.
Invariably the proposition (if there is one) is interwoven with the detail of the proposal to such an extent that it can’t be seen.
Learning from the US election
Watching election debates remind me how politicians tend to get elected on themes rather than detail and that there is a lesson here for all of us when promoting our own opportunities in proposals and presentations.
What’s your theme? What’s your proposition?
You might not be offering anything as grand as ‘hope, prosperity and freedom’ or ‘change we can believe in’ however if the prospect can’t clearly see the positive outcomes that they will obtain from ‘electing’ to go with you then this might explain why your proposals and presentations don’t get the desired results.
A proposal that they can believe in
Effective structure and delivery of your proposal can have a dramatic impact on the content. Your key themes and outcomes should be clearly articulated in the opening.
The cover page
The cover page should have a compelling sentence or statement that sums up the essence of the opportunity in terms of the benefit to the prospect of being involved and the outcome that your proposal will deliver.
It should entice the prospect to read on because the opportunity is directly related to helping them achieve an outcome that they need e.g.
- “Creating an environmental legacy for your people, your brand and your communities” or
- “Driving sales of (new car brand) amongst the 25-45 AB audience” or
- “Enhancing (company) reputation in the (industry) sector” or
- “Enhancing the business development capabilities of the Marketing & Development team”
The second page
This should be followed by a second page which contains a summary of the key outcomes you will help them achieve e.g. the opportunity to:
- “Dramatically build awareness of your brand amongst key opinion leaders”
- “Reinforce your position as a cutting edge brand” and
- “Differentiate your brand in a competitive category”
To bring the opportunity to life use appropriate font, voice and gestures
Big ideas and key outcomes should stand out or rather
Big ideas…and key outcomes…should stand out
The words should have space to create impact, not be hidden away in a deluge of copy
The use of voice and gestures
In presentations, too often the potential outcomes for the prospect are communicated with the same enthusiasm as the reading of a supermarket shopping list. Use your voice and gestures to emphasise the key outcomes that you can deliver for the prospect
In short, don’t hide your opportunity; bring it to life and give it the opportunity to get the result it deserves