The Proposal Question

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What a month… I think February is now the new January where it all kick starts. The last month has seen an increased level of event interest and March looks to follow a similar trend. It seems that the enquiry train has started down the track! So, with these enquiries, what do we do? How hot, warm or indeed cold is the enquiry? How many competitors have also received the brief? Is their interaction with us a simple tick box negotiation exercise or is it a genuine enquiry with a genuine desire to work together? It’s a hard qualifier and for us, it’s been a question that’s given us time to consider how we reply and work.

At first, when a new enquiry came in, it was a jump for joy moment where we dropped everything, sharpened our pencils and off to work we went. In our enquiries, there have been moments of true excitement, motivation, fun and sometimes frustration. It still surprises me when a potential client reaches out to five or six event management companies with the same brief. This situation means that we are chasing the same hotels, sourcing the same suppliers and consequently creating a mini inflation of prices! Rather than creating an opportunity to capture real cost saving, suppliers up their prices and reduce our chances of capturing real value.

As an agency, we think it’s time to consider the proposal and the effort, time and money it takes to create our masterpieces. I am the first person to support the term sweat equity – the more effort you put in, the better the return but, at what point does a proposal produce more effort than return? For us, we need to be more pragmatic about the enquiry and understand the dynamics behind it. Does the client already have a preferred event supplier? How many agencies have received the brief? Based on instinct, what is the likelihood of wining the business?

Proposals cost time and money and we need as an industry to be more confident in protecting our assets, which equates to creativity. We give away our ideas and solutions far too easily at times with little guarantee of return. Of course, there are than two sides to this coin of discussion, but I truly believe a more pragmatic approach to how we manage initial solutions will ultimately help to save money and provide the client with a far more effective, efficient and cost saving solution. Maybe the way we do proposals, the approach we take to presenting ideas needs to change.

It would be interesting to see how other creative led industries work and on that note, yep you guessed it, I have a proposal to write!