I no longer write custom proposals.
I found a better way to run my WordPress Design company.
It all starts when someone asks to buy something from me.
Yesterday, an existing customer asked for a website redesign.
Up until yesterday, I didn’t have a product to redesign websites for existing customers (Website Amazing is a WordPress redesign for new customers).
Step 1: I figured out what the core offering is that the person wanted. In this specific case, it was a website redesign + launch.
Step 2: I created a sales landing page for WordPress Redesign & Launch. After a decade+ in the biz, I have a good sense for how much I want to charge for a basic WordPress redesign – $5,000.
Step 3: I sent the sales landing page link to the customer. And to be honest, I sent the link to two prospective buyers – already doubling my investment return without writing a single RFP response!
And you know what? Now I have a product I can sell to people in the future. A product that will continually be refined and become stronger as I recognize its shortcomings.
By their very definition, they are 1-off, non-renewable, and generally garbage anyway.
Products solve the problem of RFP responses, because they are reusable and push business thinking further than RFP responses ever could.
When you build something that serves many buyers rather than a single buyer’s ego, it’s a better product for your business.
“Are you going to set up Google My Business for Betsy?” a colleague asked me recently. He referred Betsy to me and was writing copy for Betsy’s website.
“I wasn’t planning on doing that, because [blah blah blah],” I replied. “But ya know what? Betsy needs Google My Business. So I’m going to add it to the product she bought.”
And so I did. And Betsy is now on The Google Map!
Every time a customer or potential customer pokes a hole in one of my products, I reorganize the product, itself.
Sometimes through elimination. Sometimes through addition. Sometimes by killing the product and reorganizing it completely into a new product.
My products become stronger through the fracturing process.
Products work their magic in a number of ways for you:
- They decrease sales overhead. A clearly-defined product makes it easier to communicate (i.e. sell) the product’s value. Fewer emails/calls/meetings needed to sync up with buyers about the product.
- Are more trustworthy. An existing sales page says, “I do this all the time.” A custom proposal says, “This is something special I am doing just for you. I’ve never done it quite this way before, so there are lots of unknowns…sorry!”
- They decrease business overhead. You can surround a product with a repeatable process – like Henry Ford. Then you can outsource the work. Or do the work in-house in an effective+efficient way!
Custom proposals and RFP responses are inherently agitated.
Rule: Sell products not custom proposals.
I was on the phone yesterday at 4:30 with an existing WordPress Virtual Assistant customer. I like him a lot.
We got to talking about how he was frustrated with how difficult it is to update his homepage and interior page layouts (he uses Genesis theme).
I let him know that there are new WordPress technologies that solve this problem and that it would require a bit of a redesign (at minimum) or a big redesign (possibly) and that it would cost money either way.
He said, “How much?”
“How about $1,500?” he asked.
SIDE NOTE: Now at this point, maybe I should have said, “No”, and sent him to my WordPress Redesign & Launch sales page. But I didn’t.
Instead, I said, “Sure. How about I charge you $300 per month for the next 5 months?”
“Sounds good!” he exclaimed immediately.
I cringed for a couple of reasons:
- I totally ignored the product I had created earlier that day that was the perfect fit for him. I also totally ignored my existing Website Amazing product, which would have worked as well. Wasted time & effort.
- It adds business overhead. I now have to manage his payments in a custom way for the next 5 months – ugh!
- There aren’t clear expectations set (the sales page would have done this). So there’s potentially a landmine waiting to explode.
Anyway, I say this, because sometimes I’m as dumb as an ox, and I don’t want y’all to think I’m pretending to be flawless or that this stuff is simple as pie.
So, as always, use the tools you’ve got and do the best you have with what the Maker gave ya!