Proposal writers and consultants may wonder if they should have a deadline for their proposals or if they should make the proposal open.
I suggest that you always put an expiration date on your proposals. Here are six reasons why you should.
Six good reasons to put an expiration date on your proposals
1. Create a call to action and a sense of urgency. The potential customer realizes that they must act by a certain date or the offer will disappear or new terms may apply.
2. It gives you a reason to contact the client to move forward with the project. You can call the prospect a week before the deadline and ask if they have any questions about the proposal and remind them that the deadline is coming up.
3. It helps you plan your activity. If all of your proposals were accepted during the same week, you may have more work than you can handle. By adding a deadline, you’ll know which proposals are active and which are languishing.
4. It protects you in case you need to raise rates. If your rates go up, or if the price of your supplies goes up, you’ll be glad you added this deadline as a form of insurance. For example, if gas prices increased, could you do the job for the same amount of money and make the same profit? If your landlord raised your rent, wouldn’t you like the ability to raise your rates as well so you’re not locked into a lease that has lower rates?
5. It makes you look like a professional. Adding a date shows that you are serious business and that you are willing to withdraw from the offer if the terms are not met. Remember to have a little respect for yourself. We all want to do business, but we should never be in a position to be taken advantage of.
6. Setting limits is always a good idea in a business relationship. Setting deadlines for action shows the perspective that you are an equal business partner, whose work and expertise should be valued.
Sample language for your deadline
I guess you should include the standard disclaimer to check with your attorney when you include something in a proposal or contract, but with that said, here’s some sample language you could use in your proposal, or have your attorney execute.
“The terms, rates and conditions are valid for 30 days from the date of this proposal.”
It is short and sweet. He says what he has to say and does not impose any sense of judgment or pressure on the client. However, it clearly says what you want it to mean. Of course, you can use whatever time limit you want, be it 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or whatever you want.
By following these steps, you’ll have a better idea of where you stand with regard to proposals and prospects so you can run your business more effectively.