Didn’t click on the link? Here’s the video to entice you to read the post:
QUESTION: I don’t know if the correct way to refer folks to another post is to link to it as I do here, or whether one should refresh the copy and repost so it gets a new round of distribution. Some of you are more savvy than I am. Let me know what you’d suggest.
Friskies Cat Food lassoed lots of buzz this week with release of some apps for the iPad (and probably most of the android tablets as well).
This is brilliant. If you are selling cat food, what does your target audience like? Watching videos of cute cats, but better yet, watching their own precious feline being cute.
What the heck does this have to do with your firm? Plenty.
The leaders in our industry are already developing their social media chops. Barton Malow has an executive focused on Social Media, and they are a Construction Management firm.
No, you don’t need to be tweeting your lunch selection to the ether. But if you were the FDA, you’d be a hot twitter feed by posting drug approvals via Twitter. They are now a must have app for Pharma execs. (search for @FDAMedWatch at Twitter.com)
Think about what would help and thrill your clients. Could a preview of an aspect of your proposal be put on YouTube? Saves your client having to manage a video file and you having to forego “showing them” how it would work. YouTube allows you to select Private settings so you send a link to your video and it doesn’t get displayed with Lady Gaga’s latest music video. This isn’t high security, but it is “good enough” for straight forward information that isn’t sensitive.
I delivered an electronic file to a client a few months ago. It is a pretty nifty file, which converts a Goals to Metrics chart to a Gantt Chart and allows them to use the file as a living document. We worked from a set of dummy data to design the file. I hired a consultant who turned my nightmare idea into a dream. He video taped his demo of the file so I could approve it. Once it was finished, we loaded the client’s proprietary information into the file and delivered the file. However, I posted the video for them to refer to as instruction when they started using the file. That was helpful for them since I couldn’t be there in person to demo the file.
Is there a helpful bit that could be made into an App? A lookup table particular to your industry? A reference document that could be interactive and distributed to clients?
The folks at Solar Roadways are making great headway, and they accomplished most of their publicity with social media. They do a great job on videos, even though they have a lousy website.
Can you turn a manual you have written for internal use into an eBook for clients and customers? <shameless self promotion> One of my books: The Magic of Winning Proposals is available as an iBook and at Amazon as an eBook for the Kindle. </shameless self promotion>
Proposal folks are creative souls. What do you have that would be better communicated with a video? What would help you stand out from the herd in a crowded competition? Cruise the app store of your choice and download a variety of apps to see what might spark an idea for your firm. Keep it simple at first.
When I discovered that the YouTube search engine is the second only to Google, I started shooting video for my husband’s small business. (As my friends say, tell’em what your husband does, because THAT’s interesting.) Take a look a few of our videos, shot by an amateur and edited by a professional. These videos helped his business close its best year during the worst recession of our lives. These are the car guy equivalent of cute cat videos: Davids4Speeds – Restoring 4 Speed manual transmissions for 1960’s and 70’s muscle cars.
I’m speaking at the SMPS national conference this year.
The organizers are doing a good job of managing we speakers.
I owe them an Executive Summary by Monday morning, so I did my final edits and uploaded it earlier today.
Prior to this deadline, we had two deadlines. First we delivered our presentation proposals, and then we owed them bios and photos for the conference promotional materials. Now this deadline for a 1000 word summary. Next will be our slide set due a few weeks before the conference.
When you are working on a proposal, it is important to manage the submittals from your subject matter experts (SMEs). If you set a single deadline, you have no idea whether the SME can deliver all you need until the deadline, and that may be too late to find a substitute if they fail.
So take a tip from the SMPS managers and divide and conquer. Split up the requests into a series of deadlines. You’ll know sooner if your SME has a problem getting what you need, and you’ll narrow the number of failure opportunities to just a few items near the end.
Don’t string them along, pestering them every few days with new requests. Tell them up front that you have a series of deadlines. Tell them all the deadlines you have on your schedule for them, and remind them that there may also be a few surprises along the way for which you’ll notify them as soon as you know. Once you get good, there will be no extra requests, and every request will be on your proposal schedule.
I like to get the data I need for the graphics earlier than the proposal text so we have some time for the graphics production. Your team may work differently and prefer the resume updates early.
I’m looking forward to the SMPS conference. In preparation, I gave a new pair of shoes a test walk tonight when we went out to dinner because I don’t try to wear new shoes when I speak. But that’s another blog post. . . .
Leaders IMHO do not need to own the company. It is a choice you can make to lead from within, rather than manage from executive guidance. If you are building a team where none existed before, a Leader will build a team that accomplishes more than they could imagine.
A Manager will accomplish some synergy, and celebrate a 5% improvement over the sum of the parts. A proposal team with a Leader will accomplish much more, 35 or 40 percent improvement.
The suggestion to fire your “D” customers is one I’ve used with success for several clients. It’s a scary idea that makes Leaders take a deep breath, and then jump in and do it. Managers would rather cut their prices.
One of my mentors, Warren Yerks, taught me that you have two choices when your market becomes cut-throat: Cut expenses so you can cut prices, and you’ll make your firm a commodity, always competing on price. The other choice is to be gutsy, fire your “D” customers and sharpen up your offerings to your best customers, innovating so you sell them things they haven’t yet imagined they need.
I’ll be speaking and moderating a workshop for SMPS in Pewaukee, Wisconsin on March 17. If you are in the area, you are welcome to join us!
I’ll be telling stories and describing how we lifted firms from tough times. And the crowd at SMPS is always fun and full of good ideas they are willing to share. Registration is here: http://smpswisconsin.org/halfday.html
My compatriot, Fritz Grutzner of Brandgarten will be hosting the morning session, working on Branding. This is important because your reputation arrives well before the proposal, and some attention here will prevent you having the kind of problems proposal managers at Enron and Microsoft suffer(ed): Enron Vs. Microsoft by Laura Ricci