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The proposal: Create a presentation that sets you apart

Once you’ve collected the required information to present your business case, a well-constructed proposal is imperative.

November 3, 2014  By David J. Atkins

It should consist of the following five parts:
• The client’s and provider’s purpose
• Project data with current system and solutions
• Financial details of materials only and installation combined
• Benefits summary of ROI and additional gains
• Acceptance and terms

Bar graphs, pie charts or whatever you chose, should be easy to understand and printable. Visual aids are important. I live in a digital world, but multiple printed copies are a must in a meeting. Not everyone has compatible devices or are necessarily tech savvy. Note taking and highlighting points is more fluid with pen and paper too.

This scheduled presentation should be with all stakeholders. Include the operations manager and any other governing parties to help pool their acceptance. An open forum overcomes the unknown challenges that each department may raise. Only you and your associates can effectively deliver the message, so make sure all are present.

If possible, present a demo unit that they can touch. Show the technology and build quality that separates your line from others. This could include back-end live support that really delivers above all. It may end up as a draft proposal with pending amendments. Allow their empowerment to further underpin the required improvements.


Try to work through objections by first understanding their point of view. We often know too much and forget to share bite-sized packets of information. Asking their opinion may result in approval to move forward.

We all have responsibilities within our areas of expertise. Acknowledging that each person attending is needed to drive this project can help bond a unified team.

Negotiating at this stage is not relevant. They’ll discuss more internal needs offline when you leave. Your objective here is to foster an active discussion amongst all and get closer to actionable steps.

Dive into their current system and how it may have served them well in the past. Now compare what your solutions will deliver.

Make sure you mention your project management experience; it can alleviate any discomfort. By owning the quality control, it helps ease the liability for everyone else.

After all, you do this as a profession. As a takeaway, touch on any deferred payment options while underscoring possible upfront payment discounts. Either way, instill the negative return by postponing implementation.

Ask what their intentions are and when a decision will be made. If there is someone else that needs to be involved, when can you meet with them? Convey how you can better answer any questions with them attending. After all, it’s their project. 

David J. Atkins is the principal of David J. Atkins Consulting (www.davidjatkins.com).

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