In these challenging times, it’s obviously important to grab every bit of new business possible. And Proposals and Case Studies have an important role to play here, except that too many folks make a basic error when writing them.
It stems from the desire to be seen to be able to handle any client challenge, effortlessly (and the aphorisms “don’t sweat the small stuff” and “effort is vulgar” are badly misplaced here). And as a result, Proposals and Case Studies regularly play up the outcomes you have achieved, and downplay all the problems encountered, or anticipated, along the way.
But consider this: which is the more impressive feat?
A. Last year, I drove an off-road vehicle across the Sahara. It was a difficult journey, and many said I would not do it, but I arrived – triumphant!
B. Last year I drove an off-road vehicle across the Sahara. It was difficult journey, and many said I would not do it. I encountered quick sand; near-impassable, 200 foot high sand dunes; GPS failure; five punctures; 50 degree heat; two engine failures and a broken axle. But I arrived – triumphant!
It’s the scale of the challenge that is the measure of success, so when writing up your Case Studies and Proposals for that next piece of business, don’t forget to include the challenges involved.
In the case of Proposals, include challenges the client has not thought of, since that’s a measure of your professionalism.
Making the most of challenges, if you have not previously done so, is the fastest way to make a significant improvement in Case Studies and Proposals (it’s not the only thing you have to get right, of course!).
As always, time is short and there’s much to do, so good luck and get cracking.