As an event planner, your business proposal must accomplish five main tasks:
1. introduce you
2. demonstrate you understand the client’s needs
3. showcase your services
4. outline your costs
5. help your clients understand you are the right person to trust for the job
One “no-no”, cautions Ian Lauder of proposalkit.com, is sending every client an identical sales letter. “A tailored proposal stands a much better chance of being accepted by the client.” Basic sections to be included in the proposal, they advise, are:
- Cover letter
- Title page (names the specific event you’re discussing)
- Executive Summary (for corporate clients) or Client Summary (for individual clients)
- Services provided
- Cost Summary Benefits
(Demand Media offers a piece of very practical advice relating to the Cost Summary section of event planner proposals: Explain the purpose of each item. “A client might not know,” Neil Kokemuller points out, “that a Sterno is a small heater used to keep food warm.”)
Depending on the nature and scope of the event, you might also include sections about:
- Licensing or permits
Here at Corporate Events Indianapolis, where we work with companies from all over the country, all with highly diverse work forces, we’ve developed a to-do list meeting planners have found useful as they get ready to hire entertainers:
- Check out entertainers’ online resources, including their websites, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube postings.
- Ask for a media kit (this should contain bio, photos, posters, technical requirements, background, etc.).
- Ask questions about program length, appropriateness of material for a professional setting, equipment needs, insurance.
- Ask for corporate references and referrals from other event planners.
The information that should come last in your proposal, Lauder advises, is your company details. This is where you would put your company history, your capabilities, your experience, plus testimonials and references. “Your goal is to convince your client that you can be trusted to deliver the services they need,” he adds.
“What are the writing skills needed for an event planner or coordinator?” is the question posed by Kokemuller. Writing skills come in handy for not only the proposal itself, but in preparing effective emails and letters to prospective and current clients, he says. “Your writing abilities contribute to projecting a positive professional image,” and it’s important that you “be clear and professional”, he explains.
Using storytelling in proposals serves to make your buyers heroes and helps you win more deals, asserts Courtney Pemberton of slideshare.net. We are biologically programmed, she explains, to use storytelling as a memory device, helping us understand and remember information. “Storytelling is a great way to liven up grant proposals, capture your readers’ attention and add more emotional connection to your cause,” Lincoln Arneal tells fundraising professionals. “Stories can be short quips or quick examples that help customers understand why they should care,” adds international communications coach Karen Friedman.
“Your event proposal is a story,” says Jordan McArthur of guidebook.com. “Keep in mind that, at the end of the day, humans are reading this – and humans connect to a beginning, middle and end.” People like to work with good communicators for a reason. If you can prove that you’ve understood your client’s greater vision for the event and can deliver on that, they’ll know that they’ve been heard.”
Showcasing your company’s strengths can be accomplished through strong visuals, client references, and project relevance, he adds. “Event proposals are the embodiment of your style applied to your clients’ vision, and they’re either winning you business or opening the door for your competitors to slide in,” warns McArthur. “Your livelihood as an event planner lives and dies by your event proposals.”
– by Rebecca of the Corporate Events Indianapolis blog team