I am often asked to submit a proposal which will describe how my team and I might approach a problem and what our services might cost. The person requesting the proposal often intends to share it with others inside their firm.
The question is, when should the proposal arrive on their desk (metaphorically speaking)?
In this article, I make the argument that you should do what our late partner, Ed Wesemann, would do. He would have that proposal delivered to the person requesting it by the next day.
I’m sure you have many arguments to support the notion that it will take you a lot more than one day to respond to a request with elegance. However, you would not have convinced Ed that any of those arguments would hold water.
I still remember conversations with some of Ed’s clients who would recount that they were “blown away” by the speed with which Ed would get a proposal to them.
Here are just a few benefits of proceeding with haste:
- You will still remember the conversation(s) that led up to the request (as opposed to trying to piece together horrible notes two weeks later).
- Your client will be impressed by the priority you attached to responding and speculate that you might attach the same priority to doing the work. (If it takes you two weeks to get a response to a request for proposal how long will it take you to do the work?)
- Your recipient will receive your proposal while the same conversations are fresh in their mind.
Ed frequently recited the popular saying, “Do not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.”
He would argue that we were delusional to think that a proposal that took us weeks to write would somehow be so far superior to what we could put together right now that it would somehow impress the prospective client and win the day. Wrong.
You know 95% today of what you will know in two weeks regarding the proposal you are writing. If there is a gaping hole in your knowledge, you can pick up the phone to a colleague or other resource and get the information you need promptly.
The truth is, many of us want to procrastinate. . . . It is more comfortable than doing the task now because:
- We want to do it perfectly
- We want to succeed in being chosen
- We want to be impressive and maintain or enhance our brand
Ed had virtual staff that could proofread proposals before they were delivered – but that proofreading would be done overnight, not over a few days.
The most compelling reason you should learn from the wisdom of Ed Wesemann is that he was consistently the top rainmaker in our global consultancy and had the best score at being chosen to proceed to do the work that was proposed in his responses.
Ed was a winner. We who worked with him for so many years have the enduring benefit of having his philosophies and wisdom well ingrained in our memories. We aspire to come close to his level of accomplishment. . . and through this article, I know he would be proud to share this framework with you, and for you to benefit from it as well.
So next time you are asked to submit a proposal, say what Ed would have said: “You will have it in the morning.”
I invite you to let me know your thoughts on this and all other matters related to the law, either in the comments below or directly via email.