They don’t know they don’t know

It’s in the early days, but I think this new addition to my proposal is already making a huge difference. It’s only been in my last handful, but its resulted in better feedback and closed deals.

All of us start with the basics… Asking clients about their challenges and goals. And we’ve been taught to make sure we use our clients language as we echo those things in our proposals (which is why I try to get them in writing).

But lately I’ve been try to go beyond that and leverage what they don’t know they don’t know. The hidden gotchas, the unforeseen hurdles, the common pitfalls.

Clients are walking in the dark here, but this is all familiar territory to us. So in the proposal, I’m just trying to shine a little light.

Not as a scare tactic, but as solutions to future problems that I can help them completely avoid if we take the right steps now. Things like:

  • A custom library of pre-designed patterns: To ensure your brand’s consistent and save you future headaches (and costs) when expanding your website.
  • Submitting your sitemap to Google: A small but critical step to introduce your website to Google and speed up your rankings and visibility.
  • 30-Day post-launch warranty: A safety net, ensuring any overlooked details or last-minute tweaks are covered without extra costs.

These are things that I already do (you probably do too), but the difference is in highlighting them as solutions to problems they’ll never have to face… The things they don’t know they don’t know.

By helping our clients see into the future, we show them we’ve done this before, we’ve got their back, and we’re doing some critical thinking (not just regurgitating their inquiry).

This immediately adds value, instills confidence, and can differentiate your proposal from all the rest who are just giving the client exactly what they asked form

I just finished up a project and now that the client and I are pretty close, I asked him why he chose me (knowing he had multiple quotes). He told me that despite my proposal being “significantly higher” than the rest, everyone felt more confident in mine. He went on to cite two of the “hidden problem solutions” as the things that pushed them over the edge.

Of course, delivering on your client’s expectations in the proposal is non-negotiable, but including solutions to the problems they haven’t even thought of yet could be the difference.

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