How to Answer Proposal Questions: A Client-Centric Approach

by Susan Varty, Managing Partner

To really understand what a potential client is really asking for requires a bit of reverse engineering with key proposal questions. Here’s what to do:

  1. Take a question and turn it into an implied statement.

    Original Question: What is your blended hourly rate?
    Implied Statement: The blended hourly rate must be the same or lower than others to be considered for this project.

  2. Double-check that the statement includes what you/your team feels the client really wants to know.
  3. Write out your answer based on the implied statement. In this example, we address what is implied by their original question to reassure the reader and put the pricing into context for evaluation.

    Your Answer: Our blended hourly rate is based on a level of dedicated service above and beyond what competing firms can offer. Please refer to the investment summary on page [x].

Another example:

Original Question: What are the documented deliverables each month?
Implied Statement: Reports and documentation are required to help us get the full picture of our financials and ensure you are meeting our expectations.
Your Answer: Your documents are a priority for us to keep you up to date, including full financials for your review. We deliver the following documents every month: [list of docs]

Write down two standard questions that are asked on a regular basis and turn them into statements that focus on what you think the potential client really wants. If time, write some response variations based on your work.

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

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