When a prospective client asks you for your pricing, you’ve got a golden opportunity to earn their business. How much you make of that opportunity depends on you. By creating a targeted and personalized proposal for them, you can radically increase your chances of getting the job.
A well-written proposal can show the client that you understand their needs fully, and that you’re the best video production company for their project. It’s a great marketing tool that allows you to showcase your company, what you bring to the table, and what makes you uniquely qualified to do an outstanding job for them on their video.
I’m going to be writing from the perspective of my experience with my own Miami video production company, but most of what I’ll include can be adapted to any type of video production company such as those who specialize in weddings and events.
Do you need a formal proposal for every prospective client?
Almost always. Assuming that you’ve pre-qualified the client, in my opinion it’s usually worth the effort. I find that I have a much better chance of landing the job with a quality proposal. However, writing it does take time, so before you start, make sure that your services are within the client’s budget.
I also recommend using formal proposals for repeat clients. Never assume that your existing clients aren’t checking out your competition. A proposal gives you the opportunity to remind them and their management why they’ve chosen you in the past and why they should choose you again.
There are certain situations where I usually choose to use a more informal approach.
One of those is when the profit on a project is minimal. When it’s a super small profit, I may not take the time to craft a formal proposal. In those situations I will usually discuss the pricing with the client, and then send an email with that information. The only exception to this is when a client has much more work for us down the road, and they’re testing out our services with a small project first.
Your proposal MUST look professional!
When we first started out, we hired a professional marketing writer to create a proposal template. She spent time interviewing me to find out exactly what made my company unique, and who our target market was. She then crafted a proposal that we could use as a starting point for each client. That was invaluable!
If you’re not in a position to hire someone to do this for you, you’ll still want to create your own template based on your strengths and your specific target market. However it’s essential that your proposals come off as professionally written. If your writing skills are not exactly professional, be sure to always have someone else review and edit your template as well as each proposal. Never let something go out from your company that has spelling, grammar or spacing errors. It’s a sure way to make a bad first impression.
What should be included in your proposal?
To some extent this will vary depending on the client that you’re pitching to and the type of project. You’ll want to include anything that shows the client how well qualified you are to handle their specific project. Make it as tailored to their company, project and needs as you can. For example, if you’re shooting a CEO of a company and you’ve done that many times before, be sure to mention that. If you’ve worked for a similar type of company, mention that as well.
You’ll also want to present your company in a positive and professional manner. Take every opportunity to toot your own horn. Whenever there’s something special or appealing about your company that you could mention, do it! For example, if you’re talking about your crew, mention their stellar qualifications. Of course if you don’t have anything glowing to write about them, simply don’t mention it. Never include anything that’s less than honest.
You’ll also need to include details about the project. In future articles, I’ll be showing you how to create contracts. When we make a contract, we use the proposal we created for the client as the first part of the contract. It makes it easier to include complete and specific details about the project in the proposal. It also gives the client the sense that you completely understand what they’re asking for.
Our proposals are made up of several sections:
Our proposal begins with a brief sentence or two that gives the basic objective of the project. Here’s an example. Please note that I’ll be removing the clients’ identifying information:
“Ball Media Innovations, Inc. is pleased to present this proposal to “company” for the purpose of shooting and editing a real estate marketing video featuring their property in Miami, Florida.”
This can be very simple and straight forward. It’s a good idea to include locations and dates if it’s an event.
2. About Our Company
This is where you can really shine. In this section you’ll want to write about what makes you uniquely qualified to serve the client. Remember that you’re trying to outshine your competitors here, so don’t be shy about mentioning your unique strengths and capabilities. Be honest, and don’t overstate anything. No exaggeration. Only share things that you can back up.
In this section we usually share:
- About the knowledge and experience we have that makes us unique.
- Details about our excellent customer service.
- A short version of our client list, including clients with similar companies.
- Testimonials, especially from clients with similar projects. We usually include one or two testimonials in this section.
If you’re not sure what to write about, your company most likely has an About Us page. If you check out my “About Us” page, you’ll see a lot of the raw material for our proposals.
In our proposals, this section is usually about 1 to 1 ½ pages long.
3. Scope of the Project
This is where we give the details of the project, and the services that we’ll be providing. We start with an overview giving a basic description of the project that’s a little more detailed than the introduction. Then we go into details using sub-sections such as:
Again, throughout this section remember to talk about anything that could make your company look appealing. Here are some more details on what to include in those sections:
Script: If you’re writing the script, you’ll want to briefly describe the process and the extent of your services. If you have a great writer, you can talk about his/her experience and qualifications.
Shooting: Include details about the shoot such as the crew included, types of equipment, times, locations, backdrops, etc. We also mention anything that the client will be providing such as equipment, on-camera talent, etc.
Editing: We list anything that will be included in the edit such as the insertion of PowerPoint slides, stock footage or images, music, voice over, etc. Again, we also mention anything that will be supplied by the client such as logos, photographs, PowerPoint slides, etc. If it’s appropriate, we mention the format the client will give it to us in, and the format that the final video will be given to the client in. We also specify the expected length of the video.
Cost: Naturally this is where we break down the costs for the client. Be sure to keep it organized and easy to scan. We usually break down our costs for the shoot and edit separately. We find that having two lower cost items rather than one big cost helps reduce sticker shock.
It’s important to lay everything out in advance. We don’t want the appearance of hidden costs. In the cost section we also include information about:
- The payment type – credit, cash or wire transfer.
- What’s not included in the price such as shipping or lunch during a shoot.
So a statement for a project may look like this:
* This price assumes that the client will be paying by company check. It does not include shipping, or lunch during the shoot. Client is responsible for these fees.
4. Next Steps
Here we provide the client with their next steps. This should be a call to action. We let them know who to call if they have any questions, or if they want to proceed. We make this section noticeable and easy to find by using all capitals and color in the heading like this:
5. More client testimonials
Although we include a couple of testimonials in the “About Us” section, we include more at the end of the proposal. Why not take the opportunity to wow them if you can!
Your proposal should make a positive impact
When you put it all together, this type of proposal makes a great impression when done right.
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