“Attract More Customers” is all about using good, clear communications to, well, attract more clients and customers. The 37 Signals gang has a great take on this topic, in terms of your client proposals.
Their Get Real approach: Reduce the number of preliminary charts, graphs, documentation, wireframes, and other unnecessary paperwork and trashcan deliverables. Shrink ’em. Skip ’em. Lose ’em.
People expect what you tell them to expect. If you tell them they’re going to get all these (preliminary and rough draft) documents, then they’ll expect you to deliver all these documents. If you don’t promise all these documents, then they won’t expect them.
By skipping most of that preliminary stuff, you can get to the Real Stuff sooner. This streamlined, simplified approach has been the way I’ve done things for five years now. And my clients appreciate it, too. Just set their expectations properly in advance.
Why throw more obstacles in your way? As a one-man shop, I don’t have the time or patience for supersized, overblown proposals with multiple preliminary steps and half-finished deliverables. Many are probably just a way to inflate the bill, by inflating the perceived value of the project. Most clients would rather skip to the good part: the finished product.
As Jason accurately puts it:
Clients want the final product. They only care about the middle because you promise to give them the middle. Try it sometime, you’ll see. The sooner you work on something real, the sooner you can show your client something real.
And, I might add, the sooner you can submit your invoice.