Winning proposals: Why was your proposal rejected?

- March 8, 2007 2 MIN READ

Rejection is always hard to accept, and often potential clients aren’t clear why they turned us down. We assume it has something to do with price or their relationship with a competitor. Are these the reasons why we are not winning proposals?

Here are other reasons why you may not be winning proposals:

1. Ambiguity of proposal and value offering

The proposal is one of, if not the most important document you’ll give to your prospective client when trying to win their business.

It’s easy to make the mistake of leaving out certain information from our proposals because we think we’ve covered it on our website or in initial discussions with a prospective client. But clients often pass the proposal to others within the organisation, these people aren’t necessarily up to speed with your previous correspondence with other members.

Winning proposals should start from the beginning and clearly outline everything that’s of relevance to the client and the value you are offering should be featured in its own section so it won’t be missed.

2. Unfamiliarity of approach or methodology

Maybe the client isn’t familiar with your approach or methodology to solve their problems. Follow the example of larger organisations, who are usually good at making their approach very clear. This gives their prospective and existing clients some extra assurance that they’re in capable hands.

Want more articles like this? Check out the sales strategies section.

3. Fear of the unknown

If you’re too different from the mainstream it may scare off prospective clients who have absolutely no idea what to expect from working with you. It’s important to be different but not too different. Business is still largely a conservative practise.

4. Lacking true confidence in initial meetings

Sometimes when we’re very excited or care very much about winning the approval of a prospective client we can, subconsciously, give off the wrong vibes. For example, we may be saying the right things but our body language tells a different story. If we come across as being nervous, insecure or caring too much, it can elicit negative feelings in the client.

When engaging a new supplier, clients need to feel assured that they’re making the right decision. Anything that can help minimise doubt, reassure the client and have them feel comfortable with you is definitely worth looking in to.

It’s also wise to consider asking prospective clients to provide you with feedback on your sales process so you know where you’re going right and wrong, regardless of whether you win their business.

But be careful how you do this, you don’t want to get on their nerves!

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"