If you want to create business proposals that get noticed and get you business, add video to your written proposal to engage your prospect.
Chances are, even in a competitive RFP bid, none of your competitors are embedding video in their proposals…unless they also read this blog. 😉
Whether you’re just providing a talking head approach to the proposal, or including video and screen captures of how you plan on developing the project, this article will show you how to land more of your RFP business.
Why Use Video In Your Proposal?
Years ago, an entrepreneur here in Maine told me about how he lands international business for his lobster and seafood company.
He wasn’t selling lobster dinners for two overnighted to your house. He was selling major seafood orders to global corporations.
He was a very young guy without a lot of experience, but his business was sound. It’s probable that many of his potential customers were concerned by the youthful voice on the other side of the phone, and didn’t consider him as a serious vendor.
To overcome this concern, as soon as the call was over he would walk out to the pier with a Flip video camera in his hand and start recording.
He would introduce himself to the person with whom he had just gotten off the phone. He’d turn the camera on Casco Bay and explain that this is where the lobster boats came in. He’d turn the camera on the pier and explain that this was his pier, and this is where their processing plant was. Then he’d walk inside the plant and give the full tour.
I asked him how effective this was.
“I close almost every deal,” was his response.
I can say that I’ve seen the same results in my own marketing. Once when a prospect felt she just needed to meet me face to face, but we couldn’t seem to get together, I created a video and introduced myself, explaining why I felt flyte was a good fit for her organization.
We got the business.
Another time I put a video on the first page of a proposal.
We got the business.
Although I don’t include a video for every proposal, I’ve found that it’s very effective for establishing credibility, showing our expertise, and building a bond with potential clients.
How to add video to your proposal.
Caveat: You don’t. Not really.
Although you can embed a video in a Word document, Google Doc, or PDF, there are just too many variables when it comes to which computer, tablet or smart phone your prospect is using, and even which programs she has installed to open that proposal.
In addition, if you’re sending a document via email, an embedded video can add so much size to the file that it becomes undeliverable.
Even if it does get there, many people prefer to print a proposal so they can mark it up, meaning that your video is now just ink on a page.
Step 1: Create your video.
You can create your video however you like. Grab your video camera, smart phone, or tablet and start recording.
Personally, I use ScreenFlow, the popular screen capture software, along with the built in video camera on my MacBook Pro.
I just stand in front of my computer, hit record, and talk to the prospect as if I were in the room with them. What you say is up to you, but I generally give an overview of the proposal, make some recommendations, badmouth the competition* and sign off.
After that I use ScreenFlow to trim the video and do minor edits. Sometimes I’ll work in still images, other video and titles, but this obviously takes additional time. You need to determine what the payoff is for you, and whether it’s worth it.
Step 2: Upload your video.
You can upload your video to any video sharing site, but I use YouTube.
While your video is uploading, create a title, fill out the description, and change Privacy Settings to “Unlisted.” This will allow you to share your video with anyone who has the URL (your prospect), but it won’t appear in any YouTube searches, nor will it appear on your channel page.
Once the video is uploaded, go to the page to view it. Find a moment where you’re not making an unfortunate freeze frame face and pause the video. Take a screen grab.
If you’re feeling especially creative, drop the screen grab into Photoshop or other image editing software and add a “Play” button over it so it feels especially “clicky.” This is completely up to you.
Step 3: Embed your “video” in your proposal.
We do our proposals in Word, but you should be able to insert a photo into any similar program.
In Word, just click to where you want to add the video. It’s possible that your setup may be different but for me I go to Insert > Picture > From File and then select the image.
Once the image is there, select it and choose Insert > Hyperlink. Copy and paste the URL of the video page. Now, as long as they are viewing the proposal on their computer, they should be able to click the video and have it open in YouTube.
But, to be safe, include a call to action with the URL just below the video. Something like, “Watch our accompanying video at http://www.youtube.com/xxxx” (where xxxx is your video page.)
Even if they’ve printed up the document, they’ll be able to type out the URL.
Bonus! Use a QR code!
Want to look especially tech savvy and show your understanding of mobile marketing? (Or at least your ability to leverage a current fad?)
Use a QR code generator like GOQR.me and insert it below the video with a call to action like, “Scan the QR code to watch our video to you!”
Is it worth it?
While this process will add 15 – 30 minutes or more to your business proposal writing, it can make a huge difference in your close rate. This is especially true if your prospect is “from away” and you didn’t get a chance to meet them face to face.
You need to determine what your time is worth and what the contract is worth.
We don’t include videos with all of our proposals, especially if we’ve already met with them, but it has helped us get some business we might not otherwise have closed.
If you thought this was helpful, and might increase your close rate, please consider sharing it with a friend by sending them the link. Or, feel free to tweet it, +1 it, or share it on Facebook.
Also, if you have any suggestions on how to make the process better, faster or easier, please let me know in the comments below. Thanks!
* I don’t really badmouth the competition. And certainly not on camera.