Don’t Over Invest Before You Sell and Stay Clear of the Proposal Game

This is aligned with what Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIN wrote in Blitzscaling.

But more for people, entrepreneurs who run agency businesses where customers ask for a proposal first.

I call this the proposal game.

Customers put out a request for proposal (RFP), often before having thought through a project just to get ideas and get several parties competing for business.

This creates a win-lose proposition.

Customer wins.


And the most entrepreneurs sending the RFPs lose, because in many cases the customers get the idea and get it done in-house.

That’s why my advice to the agency clients I advise is to build a lead gen engine, see the fit and stay clear of the proposal game until the business asking for a proposal is willing to invest some money.

Because in agency business ideas equal money. And no point giving them away for free. For that once you have enough money in the bank you can go for pro bono assignments.

But when in a business, charge money for ideas.

If a client lures you with a huge budget ask them to put 1 or 0.1% of it on getting a strategy document from you. Then put your best ideas in that document and give 10x value to the business paying that money.

Those asking you to send a proposal, because they need to discuss with their partners or colleagues, propose another call and where you can discuss and share your ideas. It is much better than investing a day or week on a proposal that no one will read and pay for.

So, now whenever someone invites you to play the proposal game, say no unless of course you are a master of that game and have made your money playing that game.

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