So… How Does It Work?

Value prop training
Hands-on training on the elements of a persuasive value proposition with a professional services client

OK, so let’ say you’re potentially interested. Yes, you want to improve your win rates. Yes, you feel like your proposals can be more persuasive. Yes, you think that what I’m talking about could work. But what would it look like? How do you go about actually doing it?

It’s an easy process. And you’re in control the whole time. Also, if you ever decide that you’d rather stick with what you’ve got, that’s fine. Everything between us stays confidential.  Otherwise, clients usually follows four steps when they decide to bring me in to help out.

Step 1: You contact me

First, just send me an email at or call or fill out the form below.

Tell me you’re thinking about getting some proposal help. Or just say you’d like a fresh set of eyes to look at your proposals. It’s your email, you can give me as much or as little information as you want!

Either my assistant or I will email you back as soon as possible. We’ll let you know about my schedule so you’re not left waiting and wondering.

If you haven’t described the problems you’re having – or if you’re not sure yet if you have one – I’ll ask a few questions. What do you think the issue is? What are you hoping to change or confirm? What do you want to get out of any potential proposal help? More wins? Bigger deals? Less stress? Predictability and control? Faster process? Or do you need help identifying the root problem?

Step 2: I perform a proposal analysis

We’ll also discuss your proposal operations to get a better sense of what, if any, solution will be most effective and efficient for you.

At that time, if you haven’t sent me any recent proposals, I’ll also ask you to send at least three to five. This is all free and confidential.

I’ll read them over and analyze them for the presence or absence of the proposal best practices. I’ll also run some linguistic tests.

Step 3: I either make recommendations or give congratulations

Afterwards, I’ll give you your results. This will include how you compare to others and how much proposal improvement is realistic for you specifically in the near term.

Do you even need any help at all? Frankly, you most likely do or you wouldn’t be here, right?

But sometimes current proposals are pretty good. If that’s you, I’m absolutely upfront about it. I’ll congratulate you and happily make whatever suggestions I can to help you go from good to great. Believe me, I don’t need to take on clients I can’t do much for. I already see more than enough airports as it is. Plus, since I guarantee a 1,000% ROI, I only focus on clients who I know I’ll help.

Assuming there are issues, I’ll let you know:

• How are you doing compared to others?
• How much better could you be doing?
• What sort of increase in win rate can you expect from improved proposals?

How is it possible for me to make those forecasts when I don’t even know you yet?

Because proposal writing is a separate skill. It’s all about persuasion. If your product or service is good, and you’re competing against other companies who also have good products and services, then the trick is in the presentation, right? It’s in persuading the buyer to choose yours instead of a rival’s. And that persuasive presentation is easily analyzable once you know what to look for. As a result, you can feel extremely confident that these forecasts are accurate (not to mention they’re backed up by my money-back guarantee).

Evidence talk
Answering questions after a talk on finding and using compelling evidence

Step 4: You decide what you want to do next

After that, it’s up to you. If you want to move forward with some training or consulting, then you just tell me so. My rates are based on the value of the service.

Training is generally $1,180 per workshop participant per day, with a 10 person minimum. As a point of comparison, generic sales training from Harvard Business School’s extension division runs $2,700 per person. (Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great deal, as almost any competent sales training is. But it isn’t tailored to your situation. It doesn’t have your people work on actual deals to make sure they understand how to apply the concepts in the real world. It doesn’t give you control of the process. And it isn’t presented by the person actually out there figuring out what works in real-world proposals.)

Content libraries (where I create, for example, a library of value props for you to use in your proposals, sales and marketing materials) are priced by the project.

Occasionally I’ll either entertain or suggest an alternative fee model. Frankly, these don’t usually work out. I’m a strong believer in creating additional value, though. So if you’re a creative thinker or want to explore different ideas, I’m happy to work with you.

Regardless, at some point, I send you a Statement of Work or you send me one or your legal department writes some gibberish that nobody understands and we just ignore it. Regardless, we set a date, get the final OKs and get to work improving your win rates.

That’s it.

What do people choose?

About 5% want consulting – for me to come in, figure out what’s going wrong and make specific recommendations. Usually in these cases, there are problems with corporate structure, lack of information flow, disconnects between the sales and the proposal people, and deficiencies with the proposals themselves. At the end, you get a report describing the problems, the effect those problems are having on your proposal success, and specific recommendations on how to solve the problems. In those cases, pretty much 100% of clients want me to train their people on writing better proposals as a new engagement.

Another 5% want speaking. With my background as a lawyer and with all the original research I do into what makes for the most effective proposals, I have a lot of new techniques and insights that you can’t get elsewhere. About 50% of these lead to additional work down the line – usually training.

About 10% want a content library. This is where I write the critical sections of your proposals for you, which you then plug into real proposals like Legos. Typically, we’ll set up a workshop where I train your high level people on effective persuasion so they know why and how to plug in the content. As the workshop unfolds, participants will generate the material I need for the content library. I then take that back and create the content for you. This is a turn-key solution since all you have to do is identify which content to use where. Instant persuasive proposal.

But the vast majority of clients – around 80% – come in wanting training. I say “come in,” because around half end up wanting a content library as well. Why? Because clients realize that some of their people are more engaged and effective than others. In order to get all of them over the last mile of consistently creating maximally persuasive proposals, it’s easier and delivers a much higher ROI to simply have me do it. This works well, since my training has your participants work on real deals. So participants are constantly generating information about your industry and business and competitors – all the stuff I need to create persuasive content libraries.

OK, so let’s talk about training, since it’s ultimately something most clients want.

What’s my training like?

For training, I have a 10 person minimum and a 25 person maximum. The reason is that I divide the participants into teams and you compete against each other for points and prizes.

Egos are on the line!

Pride is at stake!

Let me just tell you, people get very invested in winning. And how do you win? Master each of the skills necessary for you to create a truly persuasive proposal. Win-win, huh? Fun and profitable for them and for you.

Recently, I had a group in London. One of the people was the brand new VP of Sales. The real deal. The others were line managers and regional managers. Well, he had just started only two weeks previously. So he called up ahead of time and said, “This looks great and I’ve heard great things, but I’m just going to observe, if that’s alright.”

Persuasion exercise debrief
Debriefing after an exercise with a team of engineers on why some proposals are more persuasive than others

Take a guess. Can a VP of Sales see a competition and not immediately want to win it? Within 10 minutes, there he was with everyone else, arguing why his team’s answers were more right than other teams, and why they deserve bonus points and on and on. Everyone was laughing and having a great time.

That’s typical. On course evaluation forms, the class regularly gets “5”s all the way down. In just the past five classes, I’ve had at least a dozen people come up after class and say it was the best training they’ve ever taken. That’s not meant to brag. It’s simply meant to get across how seriously I take training my classes, using the right blend of fun and rigor and taking the time to ensure that everyone truly gets it.

And then, just because class is over, that doesn’t mean my help is done. All of my services come with some amount of free consulting. Your people can send an executive summary for review or ask follow-up questions or whatever they want. Remember, I give you a money-back guarantee, so I’m happy to clarify and help.

So, there you go. That’s how it works.