5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Don’t Win Proposals

We all want happy clients and we want to see them succeed. Why? Because happy clients will continue working with us and will recommend our services to friends and colleagues. Successful clients will have the financial muscle to continue to pay for our services. This is what small business owners strive for.
However, there are some specific bad moves that prevent small businesses from bringing in new clients, and winning big deals. Here are the 5 cardinal sins and what to do instead.

1. Your Marketing is Horrible


You wouldn’t employ a dentist with rotten teeth to check your teeth or hire an accountant who has filed bankruptcy six times over to help manage your account.

So tell me, why would anyone hire you if your marketing is tasteless? If your designs are wack, your website looks like something out of a 90’s horror movie and your sales pitch is awful, you need to hit the reset button. To start winning more, invest in both inbound and outbound marketing. Also, prioritize internet marketing.

2. You don’t present new ideas to clients

talking to a client

Companies typically employ small businesses because (a) they don’t think they can run some in-house principles, or (b) because the same old stuff doesn’t work as it once did.
If your company doesn’t introduce new innovations to clients, you don’t just fail to deliver on goals, you’re squandering a chance to keep and expand your client base.

3. Forgetting to establish follow-up plan

follow up plan

After spending so much time creating an awesome proposal, don’t leave your clients hanging. You could be doing so much more to ensure they get the most out of the service, and keep your business at the top of their minds.
Go the extra mile with a simple follow-up schedule. Have a follow-up email or call a month after the project ended. Then follow-up again at the 3 or 6 month mark to see if they have questions, need any help, or have concerns. Finally, send a “happy anniversary” note 1 year after completing the project.

They may not hire you again for a few months, or even a year, but you will be the first one they call when they need a service you offer, because you’ve established a trustworthy relationship over time.

4. Not asking for referrals


We are likely to refer services and products we find helpful to our friends and family. Many of your current clients probably have contacts who need the same type of services your business offers. But you have to reach out and ask.Ask for business. Ask for recommendations, and referrals. Don’t be afraid to follow-up.

We all get busy and sometimes need a short reminder to tell our friends and family about something important. Other than that though, there’s not much else needed to seal the deal if your client has already vouched for you. Which is why referrals are so much valuable!

5. Over-promising

a-picture-of-two-people-shaking-hands-thats-torn-in-half over promising


Over-promising is an all-too-regular occurrence for small businesses. When a new prospect comes into the equation, your eyes light up, and all you want to do is close the deal. Just about anything they ask for is met with a firm “Yes, we can do that.”

This is very much a short-term approach to sales and something we advise heavily against. Basically, you’ll be found out at some point when you don’t achieve the things you’ve committed to and the client will move on. Losing one client here or there isn’t a big deal, but under-delivering is like a plague – it spreads like wildfire in industries and all of a sudden you’ve got a bad reputation.

Instead, you should resist the urge to over-sell the results you can achieve and instead be honest with your prospects. Honesty is something that isn’t often associated with sales, but in fact, it can be a very compelling trust-building method. If you push back on a potential client when they ask for an unrealistic outcome it strengthens your position in the relationship as an expert and thought leader.

The key to under-promising and over-delivering is to truly understand exactly where you can add value, what type of results you can achieve for clients, and promising something at about 80-90% of your capacity.

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