There is a time and a place for everything
I still see quite often that something is said about the company right at the start of proposals. Of course it's tempting to introduce yourself and then the beginning of your proposal feels like a logical place. You give your main activities and specializations and supplement this with details about the skills and expertise of the team, the history and achievements of the company. You list the benefits of working together and how you distinguish yourself from the competition. Still, I advise you not to put your company in the spotlight right from the start. Why? It's actually very simple: when a customer or prospect receives a proposal, they are mainly interested in the how, why and for how much? So: solutions, products, services, arguments and rates.
Adjust your proposal to the phases of the customer
The customer goes through a number of phases while reading the proposal. It differs from person to person, but in general (potential) customers first want to see if you have understood them correctly. Then they are curious about the solutions and their results. They probably also want to have insight into the costs and guarantees. And only then do they want to read more about the supplier and its customers.
With that order in mind, you prepare your proposal. The structure is then as follows:
- The current situation at the customer
- Desired situation and its purpose
- Solution, product, service (also refer to 9 and 10)
- Working method, planning and results (also refer to 9 and 10)
- Rates, guarantees
- Business presentation
- Any customer cases
- Terms and Conditions
Answer questions in your About Us page
Your About Us page is also about the customer or prospect. Sure, the About Us page is about you and the company, only you present/tell it from the customer's perspective. What questions would they like answers to? Remember: what they want to know is not necessarily the same as what you want to say. To help you on your way, here are the top 3 questions customers want answered in an About Us page:
#1 Are we on the same page?
Suppose you run or work for an installation company and have made a proposal for a project for which cooling systems will be designed, installed and maintained. You now know that the customer attaches value to achieving energy efficiency and sustainability goals. Then reflect that in your presentation. What is your vision on sustainability and what goals do you set yourself? What do you do to maintain knowledge and innovation?
#2 What do the people I will be working with look like?
The value of this is often underestimated. But we prefer to do business with people with whom we feel a good click. If the customer has already shown (or you conclude that based on their website) that people are perceived as important, then show that you also have common ground in that regard. Present the people with whom the customer will work and let these employees tell something about themselves (function, experience and a nice private fact). Take photos in which colleagues clearly and with great pleasure work together. Please note, do not forget the employees of the reception, for example, because these are the people who will meet and speak to the customer anyway. In addition, make sure that the photos match what you want to radiate. If you are a creative agency, then the photos (or videos) are too. That installation company I was talking about (#1)? Show the employees at their workplace or their work location. For example, show the cooperation between the engineer responsible for this project and the mechanic. And always nice: an enthusiastic overview photo with all employees.
People love stories. Tell your story, again with the customer's perspective in mind. Why did the company come about, in what and how did you grow? How does this fit in with the customer and/or your proposal? Don't put it too thick on top. If the customer recognizes himself in the story or can identify with it, that is sufficient. Storytelling tools such as the Hero storyboard can help you with that. The Hero storyboard consists of the following parts:
- the "hero" and his world;
- a problem that came his way;
- how was that resolved;
- the victory;
- and the lessons learned.
An About Us page as described above will therefore always be dynamic. Therefore, work with a basic story that you and your colleagues can supplement with each proposal.