A Generic Consulting Proposal
post # 210 — October 9, 2006 — a Client Relations post
In case any of you need to â€œwin some new businessâ€ and donâ€™t have time to wroite a proposal document, I have prepared a genreic one for you here.
Beloved Client: You have ambitious goals, which will generate significant returns if you can achieve them. However, you have told us that your goals will not be achieved by â€˜business as usual.â€™ You recognize that you will need to re-examine and redesign a number of your processes to capitalize upon the opportunities you have.
In turn, redesigning some of your processes will inevitably involve re-allocations of responsibilities, duties and accountabilities.
It can be anticipated that achieving consensus on these re-allocations will not be easy, and must be accomplished through a process of consultation, participation and involvement if you are to ensure the buy-in necessary for diligent implementation and execution of your plans.
In assisting you, we will play the role of objective outsiders, using our accumulated expertise and proprietary methodologies to support you in the following stages of your decision-making and implementation:
- Suggesting information collection from employees and customers
- Assisting in analyzing and interpreting responses from these sources
- Conducting discussions with those you consider peers in your business, collecting best practice guidelines
- Preparing for, conducting and analyzing one-on-one and small-group consultation sessions with your key decision-makers to identify issues, raise concerns, test emerging consensus on possible action areas
- Re-analyze your financials and other numeric data to shed fresh insight on operational and financial results over time, geography, industry, product-line and other operating groups.
- Facilitating top-management review of this information by design of meetings and conferences, where necessary acting to challenge assumptions and generate alternatives not previously considered.
Once management decisions have been arrived at, we will help in the design and execution of communication and consensus-building activities to educate the organization in the new methods of operating, helping to communicate the vision, clarify new roles and responsibilities, and design new metrics to monitor the organizationâ€™s performance (and that of each operating unit) in the new behaviors. Where necessary we will integrate these new metrics into a balanced scorecard and assist with a redesign of your performance appraisal and compensation schemes to reflect the new strategies, processes and responsibilities.
We recommend that you invest $XXX in our services to ensure the arraignment of your goals.
What do you think? Would this earn any business? Are proposals like this all con jobs?
What would you put into a generic proposal or pitch document?
Warren Miller said:
As a long-standing matter of personal philosophy, I don’t believe in “generic consulting pitches.” The one you wrote is about the best I’ve ever seen, though I would change ‘arraignment’ (which sounds as if it requires an appearance before a judge) to ‘achievement.’
I also fear that a pitch that is recognizably generic carries a message that the sender has excess capacity. Why else would s/he be sending out a generic pitch? If I’m the buyer, I ask myself why I would want to hire a consultant w/too much time on her/his hands. Aren’t they a dime a dozen already?
I’m reminded of a job interview I conducted many years ago when I was a CFO. I asked one of my favorite questions, “What do you know how to do?” And the guy looked at me and said, “What do you need to have done?” In the ensuing years, I’ve seen a lot of resumes and sales pitches that were like that. Sounds like the TV game Jeopardy!: Start off with the answer (Hire me), and then create the question (What do you need to have done around here?)
Having said that, I would hasten to add that I would not hesitate to incorporate said generic pitch into a multiphase consulting proposal. That way, I would be implementing something I had already proposed. Who would know the ins and outs of that particular implementation better than I?
In fact, on occasion in particularly complex engagements, we have proposed tying our compensation for entire projects to successful implementation, thereby putting the risk of the whole thing on us. I’m continually amazed at the number of small-business clients that don’t see what a great deal that is. I infer that it’s that age-old issue one sees with entrepreneurs: most are control freaks, which is a big reason that they want to work for themselves in the first place!
Hope this is helpful, David.
posted on October 10, 2006