Do you groan every time you have to prepare a proposal for a media agency or client? Or do you simply resort to duplicating an old one and rely on PowerPoint’s ‘copy and paste’ feature to update the company name? Maybe it’s time for a new approach!

In media sales a written proposal is a really important piece of work that goes far in excess of just presenting a price or idea to a potential client; it should clearly demonstrate understanding of a client’s needs and how you will achieve them. Writing a proposal doesn’t have to be an arduous chore. Just following a few simple steps will ensure that yours will grab attention and put you in strong position than other media sales executives!

Preparation, preparation, preparation

Much of the work takes place before you even start writing a proposal. Make sure you’ve done your homework and have a general understanding of the company; find out as much about them as possible from their website or any other available material – it may prompt questions that will become pertinent when you are interpreting a brief.

 Listen and learn

What goes into your proposal is largely dependent on what you take from the briefing, so be curious. If you get a face to face briefing meeting listen carefully to what the client or agency says and ask questions so that you clarify any points you aren’t sure of, or areas that you think are missing, taking detailed notes helps. If you don’t have a briefing meeting the same principles apply- get your questions in early, ideally by phone.  Don’t be afraid to challenge the media brief you may spark something the client hasn’t considered.

 Establish what is expected of you

If you are not given clear direction, ask how the agency or client would like the proposal. Often media agencies have a template everyone is required to use, if so then stick to it.

 The client comes first

This may sound obvious but it needs to be said! It’s essential that your proposal convinces the client that you have real understanding of their needs or problem – unless they see that up front, they will quickly disengage from your proposal. The first part of your proposal will ideally include:

  • An overview of the client’s current situation
  • Your understanding the issue or opportunity they want to address
  • Acknowledgement of the results they expect to see.

Make it easy to buy

Often in our excitement to create media firsts our ideas become complicated and as a consequence more difficult to visualize and implement.  In the time poor world of media agencies this is a turn off.  Simplicity is best.  Make it easy for the client to say ” yes” by having a strong idea that is easy to grasp and to deliver.

Ensure your idea is focused around delivering on the client’s objectives.

Have a clear theme, that fits across platforms not a list of different ideas that client’s will find difficult to choose from. Be the curator for your clients.

The community of influence

And finally, consider who else will be reading your proposal. In media sales it may be passed to the planning team, the media manager and directly to the client. Each person who receives it needs to be able to understand your pitch and how it will add to the campaign just from the proposal.

Image Source; Flickr- olivander

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