The SMPS-NY Coordinators Club Annual Proposal Swap was held at the offices of Leslie E. Robertson Associates this past week. This unique event allows firms to get a glimpse into how other design firms handle proposal submissions. Answering such questions as what are the latest graphics trends? What type of printing is common? What about those pesky forms? And does anyone actually read our submissions? A variety of design team members were represented and shared their proposals with the group from architects to engineers to specialty consultants.
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The group was eager to compliment gorgeous graphics and integrated branding and asked each other how to handle the challenges of proposal creation. Bright accent colors with clean layouts and gorgeous photographs made a strong impression. Customized diagrams relating to particular project solutions made a thoughtful impact.
One common issue is how to get content and information from the project managers. Suggestions included working with your accounting staff to get preliminary information and then be as direct as possible with your request. If your deadlines are not seen as a priority, keep being persistent and explain that the client will not consider your proposal if it is late. The majority of firms now print in-house but for specialty jobs out sourcing is common. Some firms utilize databases to auto complete resumes and forms. Everyone agreed that thoughtful responses required time and input from marketing and professional staff. And while sometimes it seems as though the procurement decision is fee based, the bar is very high for proposals of high quality tasteful designs for your submission to even be considered.
Many attendees expressed gratitude that they would be able to share stories with their boss on how other firms handled their proposals. Elizabeth Bellsley, Marketing Coordinator from BAM Architecture Studio exclaimed “Thank you for organizing another awesome Coordinator’s Club!! I found today really helpful in terms of seeing how other firms handle certain aspects of their proposals, and discussing the different approaches our firms take during the proposal writing process. It is gave me some refreshing insights into how I can approach proposals going forward.”