Whether you’re a designer, artist or photographer, chances are that you have a price list of some kind outlining your most popular services. This works perfectly fine for most inquiries but what about those larger jobs that are outside of your regular scope?
As you become more established, it’s common to get approached by potential clients with an RFP. An RFP stands for Request For Proposal and it outlines their specific needs for a job. To win that job, you need to put together a proposal and present it. A pitch can feel intimidating (and time consuming!) the first time around but the truth is, once you’ve established what needs to be covered, you can design an effective template that makes the whole process much speedier the next time.
Today, we’re going to cover five things to consider including in your PDF proposal document.
1. Start off with a customized cover page.
This is not the time to use a generic presentation template! To show the potential client that you care, it’s important to inject a bit of their personality. Use an image that represents their business – after all, a little flattery goes a long way and this sets the tone for the rest of the presentation.
2. Include a personalized intro.
The bottom line: your client wants to know what you can do for them and why you’re a good fit. There are probably dozens of other creatives out there who can effectively do the project but at the end of the day, it’s not just about “doing the work,” it’s about being on the same wavelength. We start our proposals out with a bold headline stating why we’re an ideal match for the client. Be clear and confident.
Once your headline is complete, follow up with a few definitive statements of why you’re the obvious choice, focusing on what they value most. A great method for this is to start out with “I / we believe in…” every time and fill in the blank. Do you believe in open communication? Proven strategy? Brilliant results every time? Let them know!
3. Break up their project down into phases.
A client can feel just as overwhelmed as you do when they send an RFP your way. After all, there are a lot of moving parts between point A and B. By thinking ahead and breaking the project down into bite-sized pieces, it’s easier for them to imagine the project coming together, step by step. Instead of scaling a massive mountain, it’s easier for them to imagine climbing up a bunch of small hills. They’ll thank you for making the project seem more manageable!
4. Include an estimate.
After you’ve wowed your client-to-be, it’s time to dive into the nitty gritty. What is the project going to cost them? You can’t just throw ridiculous numbers around, as fun as that might be for your bank balance — they need to see where their hard earned money is going. While most smaller creative jobs we do require 50% down to start, these larger jobs (with larger budgets to match) don’t always allow for that. Instead, we break the cost down for each individual phase of the project so it doesn’t feel so unaffordable. We then carry the grand total to the last page.
5. Thank them for their time.
This potential client liked you enough to approach you in the first place so it’s time to thank them for the opportunity. This is also an ideal spot to include your contact information. If you’ve wowed them, they’ll be clamoring to get in touch! Always end your presentations with a thank you page — manners go a long way.
Hopefully these tips have made the act of putting together a proposal a little less scary. Once you’ve got a tried-and-true template you feel confident about in place, the whole process feels a lot smoother and it’s a breeze to customize. If you still have questions about RFPs, please let us know in the comments!