The prospect seems like a perfect fit for your agency, and economic worries are making you antsy for more business. But, don’t be too hasty in offering a proposal. Tough times can lead to less-than-ideal business decisions, and the last thing an agency should do is take on a client that isn’t the perfect match. Andrew Sobel, author of Making Rain: The Secrets of Building Lifelong Client Loyalty, and Clients for Life: How Great Professionals Develop Breakthrough Relationships, highlights eight things that you should know before submitting a proposal. “Proposals…can be huge time wasters. The problem is that some clients who are not serious buyers will ask for a written proposal, while others may prematurely ask for a proposal before the proper steps have been worked through and the right relationships established,” he writes. “You need to cover all the right bases during the business development process to ensure a successful sale and a fruitful relationship.” The following are the first four things that need to be known prior to offering a proposal:

  1. You are certain this is the right client and issue for you and your firm.
  2. You have a thorough understanding of the issues you are being asked to address, and also a clear sense of the business goals or needs which are influencing them.
  3. You and the client have agreed on the specific objectives of the work-on the outcomes that are sought.
  4. You understand the client’s buying process.

Read the rest of the list, as well as Sobel’s explanation of each, here.