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Carl Dickson

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  1. One of the changes for MustWin v2 will be the addition of a management model. I think that's important, because it addresses key things required for a process to be successful, but are out of scope for the process itself. The MustWin Process Architecture won't tell people how to manage, but will tell them what management needs to address in order for the process to be successful. Here is an early draft of the model: Click through to the article above to see how it translates into a tool for proposal implementation. Do you see anything missing from this model?
  2. This is the first post under the topic. You can get notified when people respond and interact with your audience. You should be able to choose whether others can start new topics or not, although I'm not sure how to do that.
  3. The best practices for proposals say you should make your proposal as short as you can while still answering all of the customer’s questions.The best practices are wrong. If you follow them, and your competitors follow them as well, your proposal will be ordinary. Instead, you should turn the length of your proposal into a competitive advantage. Here's how: Be much, much, shorter. If your competitors are going to submit 50-page proposals, then make your proposal only five pages. Just sum up all the issues. Focus on what really matters. Use short, choppy sentences instead of run-on pass
  4. Sometimes the customer tells you exactly what to bid. Other times, they tell you what the problem or need is and ask you to propose a solution. When they tell you what to bid, everybody is bidding the same thing. To establish a better value you must either: Offer more than what they asked for. If you focus on the deliverables, this can be challenging, because delivering more usually means incurring higher costs. And when everyone is bidding the same thing, cost gets a lot more attention. The trick is to identify things that you would either do anyway, or can do without adding cost
  5. Simple power phrases stimulate your customer's feelings and trigger an emotional decision to buy from you. You can increase your sales by using power phrases in your web pages, sales letters, postcards and other marketing messages. Why Power Phrases Trigger the Buying Action A power phrase helps your customer visualize how they will feel when they own your product or use your service. It generates an imagined feeling and motivates your customer to convert that feeling into reality. Most of your customers make an emotional decision to buy from you. They may look for logical reaso
  6. You've identified the benefits you offer your customers, but how do you turn a list of benefits into engaging copy? As a copywriter, many of the projects I undertake are completely new websites. The client has some general ideas about what they’d like to convey, but they need someone who can fine-tune their message, and create copy which engages their readers. As a result, over the years I’ve developed a process for doing this effectively. There are four main steps: Identify benefits Identify how you deliver these benefits Prioritise your benefits Write the conte
  7. The USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is based on the assumption that if you can't be better than the competition then being different will usually suffice. It is true that most businesses scrape by in the midst of mediocrity. The bosses of these firms see an industry or profession that looks lucrative and join the ranks in a 'me too, I'd like some of that action', kind of way. If there's enough of a market for what they do then they'll pick up the odd client and eke out an existence without having to think or work very hard on their brand. Most of these companies make up the headline
  8. The psychology of negotiation Potential clients are crying out for the one thing so many businesses fail to provide: They want to be understood! When you approach prospects, ask them: “Do you have any situations in your company that our combined expertise can solve?”. Psychologically, by substituting the word “situations” for problems, you are more likely to get a positive response. Also, by using the term “combined or mutual expertise” you are telling them you respect their valuable knowledge. Remember Stephen Covey’s advice from his ground-breaking book: “The 7 Habits of Highly Suc
  9. Psychology and Science are formidable and innovative forces taking the business world by storm. And you can benefit enormously from these forgotten secrets, once the preserve of a powerful elite. The psychology of negotiation Potential clients are crying out for the one thing so many businesses fail to provide: They want to be understood! When you approach prospects, ask them: "Do you have any situations in your company that our combined expertise can solve?" Psychologically, by substituting the word "situations" for problems, you are more likely to get a positive response.
  10. I'll bet that headline got your attention! That's the whole point of headlines… to get the attention of your reader and cause them to want to read what's below the headline. Headlines should make such an impact that the reader will be intrigued enough to read the article, advertisement or story that follows. This is the most vital part of your advertisement. If the headline isn't interesting, you have a poor chance to get your point across in the copy because the copy will most likely not be read. So what goes into a power-packed headline? Well, here are a few suggestions: So
  11. Whether you are making a brochure, or writing an unsolicited proposal, you can make it better by understanding the similarities and differences between them. A brochure is a document about your products and services. They are often mass produced and given anonymously. Brochures come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are usually printed in color with lots of graphics. An unsolicited proposal is a document about your products and services. They are usually produced individually, and given to someone specific (although it may be to someone you do not know very well). They are often
  12. Who of us hasn't written advertising copy that we thought was great only to find out it flopped big time? Why? When you wrote it, it seemed very persuasive. You included lots of benefits and even gave a money back guarantee. It got YOU up and moving so why did your customers turn their heads? The reason is usually quite simple. They are not you. While one thing might motivate you and excite you enough to open your wallet and buy, there are other personality types who respond to different motivational factors. If you know the factors, you hold the key to copywriting success! There are
  13. I have been working with The Chesapeake Center to improve their business development and proposal processes. They have been the test case for many aspects of the process recommendations that show up in this newsletter and in the CapturePlanning.com MustWin Process. They recently asked me to take a look at the draft copy for an email they were planning to send to some of their prospects. In re-writing the email, I found myself doing many of the same corrections I do to proposals, so I thought I’d share it as a sample. Here is the original draft: Do you want the best SLP services provi
  14. Information is coming at us from all directions nowadays. This pace requires us to demand that we receive it fast and predigested in order to inch ahead of the game. This also requires a new filing system method for storing the bites and bytes. In this article, we will go into greater detail on: Why slogans are important in today’s society fast-pace information systems. What is a slogan? Learn the six major types of slogans. The many uses for slogans. Seven ways to make slogans memorable. First, lets create a clear definition for a slogan. A slogan is a n
  15. Why write a guarantee for your product or service? It reduces the risk in the eyes of your customers, enough to turn a cynical customer into a convinced customer. So, what makes a good guarantee? Besides the obvious, "I guarantee it," strong guarantees include elements that not only ease the customers' fears but also reinforce your offer. Before you put your guarantee in writing, here are some tips to keep in mind. Emphasize the benefit in each guarantee. Say you're selling an energy supplement. Write a statement saying, "If you're not drinking less coffee, skipping down the stree
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