Help Clients Say Yes to Your Proposal

Earlier I talked about what I call your client embrace.  Sounds lovely doesn’t it?  Who doesn’t want to be embraced and made to feel safe and secure.   Your client embrace, where you spell out exactly how you do your best work,  comes right after your client says yes.  What happens right before? Good question.

Writing Proposals for Services

Your  proposal is how you begin your pricing conversation if you’re the kind of solopro, consultant or self-employed person that offers them.   When I first started my corporate coaching and consulting firm I thought I needed to write proposals to look professional and credible.  I got writing proposals down to a science.  Really.  I could have a thoughtful, through proposal written and personalized in under an hour.  And, get the job!

Over time, I realized proposals were more of a crutch than a help to me.   They killed the opportunity for real conversation about the project because, well, it was all written in the proposal.   There were times, as a newbie, when my detailed proposal had been used as a roadmap for some unscrupulous type who did the work in-house without me.  That lead me to do a outline of proposed work instead.

Add an Expiration date!

Also, I hated twisting in the wind waiting for some department head  to decide my fate.  Work with me or not- just decide.  That’s when I added an expiration date.  After all, things go bad…like pricing or start dates or bonuses.  Clients can preserve them by acting fast to sign their contract and begin work.

Many of my clients who are wedding entrepreneurs don’t include that detail.  Same with some of my freelance artist clients.  It’s not how they roll.   I understand feeling like it’s not necessary or that your business is personal and you don’t want to muck it up talking ‘business’.  That’s fine if you can live with the suspense, lost jobs and aggravation.

Why it Works

An expiration date on your proposals can be a good friend.  It eliminates that nasty element of suspense for you.  No more waiting and worrying if you said the wrong thing or the client is just too busy to respond.  You’re in the drivers seat because you control how long your offer will be available.  You can make it short to discourage or extend it to negotiate with a client you really want.

If you’re not  using an expiration date, ask yourself why?

  • Are you worried your client will feel pressured?
  • Don’t want to speed the inevitable no?
  • Feel like you don’t know what to do  if later the client says yes?
  • Can’t be bothered with all the followup?

You know, I’m all about speaking up for yourself.  And, having an expiration date is saying to the world, and YOU, I value my time and effort and yours.  Let’s not waste it.

 Do you use expiration dates in your work as a freelancer, consultant or self-employed person?  Tell us more in the comments.



–If you’d like to learn more about how to set, say & get your price, stay tuned for more about my online seminar, Your Right Price Bootcamp. (get in great business shape without any pushups) 

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Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. stef
    5 years ago

    Dina, This is SUCH a good one. I do not do this and I NEED to as my sales process can be very extended with people coming back to me 6, 9 months even over a year later ans still expecting the quote in the original proposal. Is there a standard length of time that’s acceptable or is it just up to the individual?

    • Dina Eisenberg
      5 years ago

      You know, it’s flexible depending on the work. 14 days seems very reasonable to me know. However, when I was working with corps I was more likely to say 60 days because of their internal processes. Nice thing about people who come back is the want your work. A good analogy is to a restaurant. They might make a reservation 6 month in advance but they wouldn’t expect the restaurant to charge them the same price as 6 months ago. You can re-open negotiations with them. Thanks so much for speaking up, Stef!

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