When writing proposals, you have to set your firm apart. So, what do we do? We try everything in the book to convince the client we are better. Our work is better, our people are better, and our customer service is better.
There is just one problem: that’s a huge mistake.
Tying to convince the client that you are better is actually a fool’s game. Much of the time, it will be near impossible to successfully convey that your firm is better. Here’s why:
You’re Probably Not Better
Yes, I just put it out there. Odds are your firm is not better. In a competition of 10, 20, or 50 firms, there can only be one firm that’s better than the rest. Those odds are not on your side. And there is really nothing you can do to make your firm the best in the couple of weeks before the proposal is due.
And let’s just say, for the sake of argument, your firm is the best. Is that going to be so obvious to the client that they couldn’t accidentally choose another firm? Is your firm a 10 and everyone else is a 2? Or is your firm a 10 and everyone else is a 9.5? If there is not a huge difference between your firm and others, it’s going to be extremely tough for the proposal evaluator to discern who the better firm is. You can’t assume they’ll pick up on subtle differences. Instead, they’ll focus on obvious differences, like price, to make their decision.
Different is Better Than Better
If you could only eat one of these for the rest of your life, which would you choose: a Mackintosh apple or a Fuji apple? 99% of you have no idea. That’s because it’s a tough choice. For the most part, an apple is an apple.
Let’s make that choice easier. If you could only eat one of these for the rest of your life, which would you choose: a Mackintosh apple, a Fuji apple, or an ice cream cone? It’s much easier to choose now, right? It’s easier to choose the ice cream cone because you only have to make one decision: ice cream over apple. If you choose apple, now you have a second decision: Mackintosh or Fuji. It’s easier to choose the thing that sticks out, the choice that is different.
It’s going to be easier to prove your firm is different than prove it is better. Different sells. Show that you are different. Different is better than better.
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