9. Are they buying what you are selling?
As engineers, we are often driven towards technical perfection, efficiency, and work that is interesting. Sometimes, we go out of our way to make a task that might be simple, more interesting by improving the way we approach it.
For example, there may be a standard model that we always use to complete our assessment. The model gets the job done and moves the project forward, but we know we could get better results if we could build our own, more complex model from scratch.
If we propose this new approach to the client, it may help us stand out and win the job, but only if the client understands how it will help them achieve their goals, hopes, dreams, and so on. We can’t assume that the client will get excited about the same things we do.
In this example, the client may be thinking “I don’t need any more detail in my results, this is just a rough assessment.” Or, “I am worried that reinventing the wheel will introduce risk and additional cost into the project.” Or, “I need the results to be consistent with what I am getting from ten other consultants.”
If you want to sell an idea or approach, you need to understand why it matters to your buyer. If you can’t figure out how it helps the client reach their goals, you may need to go back to the drawing board and rethink your approach. A proposal is a sales document at the end of the day!
Here are some ideas of how you might sell your new approach:
- This new approach is an investment in future-proofing your results. We expect that you won’t have to repeat this assessment for another 10 years.
- The detailed results we will get in our custom model will allow us to reduce our construction costs by 5%, in comparison to the old way.
- Our detailed, custom model will add more time to the assessment phase of the project, but once complete, we estimate that we can cut four months off our detailed design timeline.