National Writing Examiner (NWE)101: the consultant proposal

by Donna L. Quesinberry
National Writing Examiner (NWE)

The precursor to the “Consultant’s Proposal (CP)” is good capture management recognition. It is essential in the enablement of quality consulting to excel in communication.

Before writing a CP, the Consultant should have a verbal and mental agreement in place already that is the result of building a “recognizable relationship.” This is when a Consultant has conducted analysis and developed strategies that result in CP solutionization based on recognition of the prospective client or customer –
rather than solutions as “usual.”

Once these elements are achieved – the actual development of the CP becomes a presentation of previously conceived solutionizing – a direct result of Consultant participation with their prospect. No matter the type of consulting an expert performs – the rules of engagement remain the same – 1) recognizing the prospect, 2) analyzing prospect requirements, 3) strategizing prospects desired result, and 4) solutionizing the prospect’s quality CP.

Fees, concepts, goals, and objectives should have already been communicated in preliminary discussions or the “prospect capture process.” Even when delivering capture planning strategies as a Consultant to a client – many Consultants miss this important opportunity in creating their own CPs, which routinely results in low ratios of award for their “own” privatized CP presentations.

Never Assume!
To assume a prospect “requires” Consultant services and therefore, your expert offer, is inappropriate. NWE hears many a Consultant state that their predominant return on investment (ROI) relative to CP development based on pure prospecting are low. Most, they add, are derived from referral business or prospects who contact them through “warm associations.” While these are excellent resources – a warm fuzzy market is a cozy market to have – the reality is that any Consultant with expert skill sets should be able to reach out through prospects or cold contacts and develop a warm fuzzy relationship and CP as a result of good capture planning that results in CP acceptance and award-winning solutionizing.

Ask Important Questions~
Have you developed a qualitative list of questions for your prospect? Are these based on research and study of the prospect’s business in the current hour? Do you understand their objectives? Are you helping to refine them? Identification of prospective client needs or issues is a preliminary phase in the development of a quality CP.

Once you have developed the prospect’s requirements list – have you engaged in a preliminary Webinar or Shareware session to overview your understanding and present preliminary ideas that may be encompassed in your CP? At this stage in the capture process you should be working with executive level representatives such as the President or CEO of the firm or company. Ask them if your understanding of their requirements is on target with their stated goals and objectives. Gain prospect buy-in.

Preliminary New Prospect Kit~
Have you presented preliminary documentation to your prospective client? Prior to “any” face-to-face or virtual meeting? Is your suite of preliminary documentation (or new prospect client kit) developed? Do your prospects respond to your “Preliminary New Prospect Kit?”

In order to develop good capture plans, a Consultant requires elementary to mid-level information analysis. A Consultant shouldn’t meet with a prospect until they have acquired a completed preliminary prospect kit. Don’t appear commission hungry – once you don the commission starvation suit – all value in your prospect is lost in as far as your budding Consultant relationship as a trusted source. You need to be a business guru – not a starving gotcha.

Conversely, to create trust, a good Consultant works with a manageable scorecard. This means volume that mates with capability.

Talk About Costs~
If you are wondering if you are charging too much or too little – you haven’t worked with your prospect and you haven’t achieved good capture planning. Discussing fees should be part and participle of preliminary discussions with potential clients or prospects.

Speak to pricing and strategies in these preliminary discussions – get your prospect to agree verbally to the Consultant fees you charge. At the close of capture planning sessions with your prospect review the discussion as a solution portfolio reiterating key points. Keep notes, establish the bulk of preliminary or draft CP text during your plenary sessions.

Know Prospects Products and Capabilities~
If you are wondering in the development of your CP whether the prospect uses one type of software over another, whether they have a large or small team, or what type of substantive products they “need” verses “could use” – you haven’t performed the level of capture planning or communication that is necessary to turn them from prospects to clients or customers.

Become A Trusted Source!
To capture your prospect requires forthright representation – meaning you must become a “trusted advisor.” While you might be an “obvious expert,” are you a trusted source to “this prospect?” No matter the number of previous trusted relationships you have in your solutions arsenal – you must become the prospect’s advisor.

When you go through the planning process with prospective clients or customers prior to drafting your CP, you are ensured award-winning results continuously.

Author | Business Developer | Capture Manager | Coach | Writer Representative
Ms. Donna L. Quesinberry
President DonnaInk Publications (dp)
5120 Chowan Avenue
Alexandria, Virginia 22312
[email protected]
Work: 01-703-270-9440 Fax: 01-703-462-8953
Significant win ratio among multiple/diverse clients!
Yes, we provide winning proposal solutions!

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(Copyright © Donna L. Quesinberry-2010)

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Keith Moore

Donna. This is great capture management information. Our goal at Open Government TV is to engage and educate and empower. In this recessionary environment, no business should fall prey to thinking that their true grit and determination will land them a contract.

We would like to talk further possibly interview you and discuss adding your services onto our online training program. http://www.opengovtv.com. Please call me 202-449-7705.

Thanks for a powerful presentation.