Proposal Personality Profile, Part 3: Dummies and the Clients Who Employ Them

Today’s show is about making it extremely easy for busy, distracted, or low ability people to still choose you.

Want to grab a spot for a free 15-minute Quick Consult in New Orleans?

We’re trying to simplify how you get fast, accurate data on where your proposals stand.

To that end, we’re bringing our Proposal Improvement Techniques Algorithm (making it a PITA – solving your pain in their ask) to New Orleans.

How does it work? To start, make an appointment with us (using the calendar below). We confidentially analyze a couple sample proposals that you bring. The patent-pending algorithm then uses the statistical knowledge gained from thousands of proposals to determine how you’re doing compared to typical proposals.

It’s all strictly confidential and there’s no negativity. You’ll get a customized result that shows you where you’re better than most. If you are interested in learning if you have areas that could use some tightening up, we can provide those. But we’re happy – and sometimes it’s actually more productive – to focus on the bright spots.

If you’d like, you can receive a final report of your strengths. You might want to use this as a way of encouraging your team (and, hey, you might want to show it to upper management). At your request, we’ll also include how much of an improvement in revenue and win rates you can realistically expect from incorporating more of the proposal best practices. This includes probability distributions of the upper and lower bounds for your exact situation.

If you’ve been thinking about getting training, but have been a little nervous about asking the leadership team, this is the type of data that helps you make the case for training.

You’ll also find out your Price Leverage – an estimate of the amount of bargaining power your proposals give you with your clients.

We’re also happy to use the appointment time getting you started on applying the key points from my talks (differentiators, content libraries and/or gathering client intelligence) to your situation.

Or maybe you already suspect it’s about time to get your proposals a tune up, but you’re worried you don’t have the budget. We can share some tips, trends and templates for getting Sales and/or Marketing to contribute their budget.

Or just have Dwight tell you his favorite joke! It’s all very low-key.

(And if you’re not going to be in New Orleans, just send us an email and we can get started.)

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On with the show! Key points from today’s BulletPoints

We’ve been talking about how to appeal to selection committee members with different personalities – as defined by their drive and ability. (Click here for part 1 and part 2.) Even people who are high in ability have areas where they aren’t specialists. As Will Rogers said, “Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.”

In psychology, this is the difference between fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Fluid intelligence is sort of what we would think of as IQ. The ability to do complex things. Crystallized intelligence is intelligence about a specific area.

A brain surgeon is obviously extremely intelligent, but any brain surgeon would tell you to go to a foot specialist if your problem is with your foot. That’s just not what a brain surgeon does. Their crystallized intelligence is in brain surgery, not foot surgery. (This is also why the word “Dummies” in the title is definitely not meant to be taken seriously!)

It’s normal to confuse fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence in our customers. This is often the source of what’s called the halo effect, whereby if someone is good at one thing, we pretty much assume they’re good at everything. Here, we assume that, because our customers are knowledgeable people in general, they must also be knowledgeable about our products and services and jargon specifically. Logically, of course, there’s no reason that should be true. But, unless we challenge ourselves, it’s very easy to make that mistake.

People who are high in drive but low in ability are ones that I call Strivers.

Interestingly, because they have high drive, but don’t actually have matching ability, Strivers make decisions based on what are called peripheral cues. In other words, they make decisions based on things that aren’t in the message. These people are strongly influenced by authority and social proof. They also rely heavily on heuristics, or mental shortcuts, that don’t require a ton of reasoning ability.

For instance, one of the biggest ones (and a major reasons why big companies can win despite bad proposals) is the recognition heuristic. The recognition heuristic says that, if Strivers have heard of you, but not your competitors, they’ll assume you’re the best and choose you. This is where the idea of “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” comes from.

So, be sure to include prominent case studies, testimonials and other evidence from recognizable name brands, authority figures and experts.

And, if you’re thinking, “I would but where am I supposed to get those?” – you’re in good company. One of the reasons why a lot of clients include Marketing in training sessions is because they need to develop a library of persuasive evidence like this. One of the best tips for Marketing is to always submit a press release with every new deal, with each press release covering an area for which you need evidence.

Get a Clue!

If you didn’t see it before, I’ll be giving a third talk at the APMP conference – a panel called “Get a Clue! How to Win At Least 8-10% More Deals with Intelligence on Your Competition and Clients” with federal gurus Randy and Chris Richter. This goes right to the heart of how you personalize your proposal. It’s also how you figure out what they value so that you can show them that you offer more of it. If you haven’t seen it, the schedule for New Orleans is here.

Make sure you join us next time for the final video in this series, when we’ll look at how to deal with the… ugh… low drive, low ability people on your selection committee.

Until then, I wish you much success.


P. S. Got forwarded this link and want to sign up for BulletPoints yourself? Sign up here.

P. P. S. Wanna see if the jokes in the previous BulletPoints are funnier than this one? Check them out here.

P. P. S. Pils led me knue if yeure dhe one whe brock dhe kqyboard dhis merningh.