We all know that sex sells. But did you know that it’s true even for the most formal, stuffy, and boring business proposals imaginable? It’s even true for government proposals. And you're probably losing proposals because you're turning off your customers without realizing it.
Most proposals read like they were written by someone who thinks that the best way to impress you is to talk about themselves. People like this brag about their conquests and go home alone. If your proposals read like this then you have no mojo.
Another common approach to proposals is to say whatever you think the evaluator wants to hear in order to get accepted. When someone is trying to pick you up, does this ever work on you? It’s just not attractive.
When you are attractive, people want to get close to you. The same is true with proposals. If your proposal is attractive, then the evaluator will want to get closer to your company. They’ll want to talk to you and spend time with you. They might even consider doing things together. But first they’ll want to find out if you’re a match. Do you share the same goals? Can they trust you?
Some people hit on everyone they can until someone gives in. They put a lot of effort into landing short term relationships. While that works for some people, it rarely meets their needs long term. Other people are picky, and only go after those that meet their particular standards. Their success depends on a combination of how good their standards are and how good they are at the pursuit. This is usually the best path to a fulfilling and lasting relationship. What kind of leads does your company pursue?
Do you believe in love at first sight? It happens, but usually love is something that builds over time. It starts with an introduction. The best introductions come from friends or family. But sometimes you’ve got to go in on your own and introduce yourself. Do you use a pick-up line? How do you get a conversation started? What should you talk about?
The introduction has to hold their attention and make them want to stick around to find out more. The introduction is what gives you a chance to tell your story. Your story is what makes you attractive. Or not.
If your story is attractive, it will get you closer. It gives you a chance to prove yourself. It gives you a chance to be seductive. If you are sufficiently seductive, the other person will be willing to take a chance and turn themselves over to you. If they do so, they will be showing their vulnerable side, so everything that comes before is designed to make sure that you are trustworthy and worthwhile before letting things get this far. You have to get them to where they really want to turn themselves over to you. But you can’t do that by just telling them what you think they want to hear. You must be genuine.
Unless you sell a commodity product with no value-added, you need to seduce your customers. Are your proposals seductive? Do you even have a story? If you do, is it one that holds the customer’s attention and makes them want to know more about you? Is your story seductive? Is it something the customer wants to join with and become a part of? Does it tell of a future that they want to become part of?
If you’ve got your eye on a particular customer, then you need to tell the right story. Is it about a short-term future together or a long term relationship? Is it about getting something that you both know you want, or is it about having a future together? Is the environment simple, or complicated — are there others involved? If you want a future together or if the environment is complicated, you need to get to know your customer before you’ll know what buttons to push. You can work on your pick up lines all you want, but if you’re not willing to invest in getting to know your customer before you try to seduce them, you’re probably going to end up going home alone.
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wasn't nearly as much fun as this article to write, but is still incredibly useful!