Captain’s log, stardate 20220303
Let’s talk about what exactly I mean when I mention “business benefits” in my 5-page proposal template.
I’ll start with some things that ARE NOT benefits:
Inputs—The stuff you put into your client engagements. If you bill clients by the hour, your only input is the time it takes you to undertake activities on behalf of your clients. Inputs ARE NOT benefits.
Deliverables—The “tangible” artifacts of your work. I put tangible in quotes because in everyday use it refers to things you can physically touch, but for people like us deliverables are usually all digital (e.g., code files, images, PDFs, mp3s, videos, etc...). Deliverables ARE NOT benefits.
Outputs—Synonymous with deliverables in this context. Outputs ARE NOT benefits.
Okay, so what are benefits?
Benefits—The ways in which your buyer’s life will be improved by your intervention, ideally described in their terms. Business benefits are a subset of benefits that are commonly considered desirable by business owners. NOTE: I often use the terms “outcomes” or “results” as synonyms for “benefits”.
You probably sell services, but I’ll try to illustrate with a physical product metaphor.
Consider a bottle of Motrin.
The inputs are all the time, money, resources, raw materials, research, development, innovation, infrastructure, and so forth that were required to produce a bottle of pills.
The deliverable (aka the output) is a bottle of pills.
The benefit to someone who has an aching lower back would be, “Quick relief for your nagging lower back pain!”
Virtually all of the hundreds of proposals I have reviewed in my coaching programs and The Pricing Seminar have failed to articulate the business benefits to the client, and instead focused almost exclusively on inputs (e.g., “Here’s the stuff I’m going to do and how long I think it’ll take”) or deliverables (e.g., “When I’m done, you’ll have the code/pdf/mp3/videos that you asked for”).
Why is this?
This is because most clients ask for inputs and/or deliverables and almost never spontaneously share how they hope the engagement will make their business better.
In other words, someone with a sore back might ASK for Motrin, but what they REALLY WANT is for the pain to stop.
So of course you don’t know what benefits to put in the proposal... the client didn’t tell you what benefits they want!
The best way to find out what benefits a client wants is to ask them, but a good starting point is to get familiar with the sorts of benefits most business owners desire.
Here’s a big list of business benefits from Jill Konrath that I use in Lesson 3 of The Pricing Seminar:
Big List of Business Benefits »
That’s it for today! Tomorrow I’ll explain why you MUST include benefits in your proposals. Stay tuned :-)
P.S. Do you dread writing proposals? Does it take you forever? Do you always feel like you’re winging it? Are you just making stuff up, trying to sound professional?
The entire first week of The Pricing Seminar is devoted to learning, once and for all, how to write killer proposals in record time.
The 9th session of TPS is launching very soon, so add your name to the announcement list for a shot at the early bird pricing:
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I hope to see you there!