Trust Me, This Proposal is Great

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Here is a very simple mantra: The relationship card trumps all.

Recently, someone told me they felt the written proposal was the most important part of closing a deal. They insisted that they could craft a proposal with such excellence that clients signed on the line during their first meeting. I probably would have let that go if he hadn’t been talking primarily about Internet development, which I happen to know more than a little about.

While I have no doubt that such silver-penned devils exist, I had to argue strongly against his guarantee that it was all about the proposal. I also suggested that he might have a thing or two to learn about relationships.

Back in my professional web development days, I would carefully craft a proposal, lay out the expectations from all parties, spend time going over the proposal and ultimately go for the close. Sadly, we have to understand that if the client doesn’t close right away, your hard work is merely a blueprint that the client will use to shop around.

So while the proposal is important for managing expectations during the project, I would argue that the relationship you build with the client during the discovery process is far more critical in getting a client to commit to working with you and not someone else.

Besides, if the client just wants to shop your proposal for price, you don’t want them as a client.