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The Art of the Proposal

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One of the most exciting times for any company is the prospect of acquiring a new client. "New biz" can make or break a company's year. Most graphic design/advertising/marketing company's prefer "quality" clients to the "quantity" of clients. That strategy allows for more time to properly focus on a brand, which typically includes research, competitive analysis, meetings, presentations, revisions, phone calls, emails, and production. Balancing too many clients can become too demanding, rushing through projects or cutting corners will affect your existing client base. But what steps can you take to improve your chances of landing that piece of new biz?

  • Design it: Your official company Proposal should look designed. Businesses may even be expecting that. A few design touches here and there can go a long way toward impressing your prospective client. Don't go overboard, though. Keep it clean and easy to read. It should photocopy well, avoid full color images, and avoid bleed.
  • Cover letter: Think of this process like applying for a job position. Briefly disucss your company background. Explain why this client should consider hiring your business, and where you see opportunity for said client to improve their design or marketing strategy. Don't make it all about you. They've presumably done their homework, too.
  • Break it down: Be as detailed as you can be in your pricing structure. What's included? How many logo revisions? How many website pages? How much is hosting? Will they need an SSL? How much is printing? Don't hide any future charges. Clients will appreciate the fact that you've thought the entire project through, and will allow them to budget accordingly.
  • Double up: After you've spell-checked your Proposal you can send a PDF. I prefer to mail a hard copy, as well. Especially if this is your first email exchange with this company, you don't want to end up in their spam folder. Make sure the envelope has your logo on it. Follow up with a phone call in a week or so.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed. But these steps will definitely tip the scales in your favor. And at least you'll know you've done everything you could to improve your chances of winning that new biz.