Clients need the unique way of thinking that consultants possess to help them solve business challenges. But when it comes to winning projects you sometimes need to think like a client to get their attention.
One of the defining features of being a good consultant is that you have transferrable skills that you can apply in a number of scenarios. But, for your clients the perspective is different, they have to focus on their scenario in so much detail that they sometimes can’t see the wood for the trees. Clients need consultants to help them traverse the intricacies of their problem or help them to see the bigger picture again. So while this seems like a match made in heaven there is a tricky process to get through before you can start flexing your transferable skills muscles. And that is - winning the project!
To win a project you need to get the attention of the client, and as we’ve already covered, the client is heavily focused on the scenario they are involved in. They will be looking for someone who can get their situation immediately, that they can relate to from the get-go. So while you may be able to do the job perfectly well, you do have to tick some boxes to make it into the running in the first place. The way you can show that you both get where the client is coming from and can bring strong consultancy skills is by writing this into your proposal.
It can be tempting to present just your transferrable skills, or to present them above the things that make you specifically appropriate for the project. But, this can seem like you are ignoring the project requirements as set out by the client. You should ask yourself whether you do have the right background and/or skills to meet the mandatory requirements of the project. In some cases you might have 3 out of 4 requirements, it is up to you to state in the ‘suitability’ section of the proposal why you would be good enough despite lacking that last element. If you can make a strong enough argument for why you would be able to deliver then it may be worth proposing. If you don’t have the experience and you can’t make that argument it probably isn’t the project for you.
Project applications, when done well, can take some time to complete. Follow these tips to make the best use of your time and increase your win rate.
Join our next live broadcast "How to write a winning proposal" for more tips from the team. Take a look at all of our live projects to find the next one to apply for that suits your background and skills.
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