January 16, 2017

Back to basics -> focus on outcomes

Today, I was doing a proposal teardown for one of the folks in my coaching chat room. I’ll refer to him “Bob”.

Bob based his proposal on my 5-page proposal template, so you won’t be surprised to learn that it:

All good stuff. I had a few suggestions for Bob but the main one was that he explained each option in terms of what he would do and completely left out how the client would benefit.

This is common to most proposal teardowns I do. Software developers are so used to thinking only of their costs when drafting a quote that it’s hard for them to even consider what the outcomes of their activities might be for the client.

Also, devs often feel that the benefits of their actions are so obvious that they merely need to describe the actions and the clients will fill in the benefits automatically.

Here’s an example... imagine that I am a web designer who helps clients who run ecommerce stores make their desktop-centric site design easier to use on mobile.

I could say:

“I’ll add media queries to your existing CSS files to make tap targets more finger friendly on touchscreens.”

or I could say:

“I’ll modify your existing code such that customers will no longer accidentally tap the Cancel button instead of the Complete Purchase button when shopping your site on mobile. Based on the numbers that Alice shared with me on the call, I think it’s fair to expect at least a 5% increase in sales.”

Notice that the first example is full of arcane language from my world that is likely gibberish to a business owner. And I make no mention of how this word soup might benefit their business.

Notice that the second uses only terms from the business owners world. I still talk about something I’m going to do, but that’s not the focus. The focus in on how the business will be better after I do my thing.

This advice goes beyond custom proposals. Whether you’re writing...

...focus on the outcomes that the buyer can expect to receive from their purchase.

It takes time to shift this thinking but doing so will have a dramatic positive effect on your close rate and your profitability.