As a safety consultant, the proposal is the gateway to servicing your potential clients. Proposals are also the cornerstone to a profitable safety consulting company. However, creating a proposal can be tricky due to multiple factors that can confuse the consultant. This presentation will reveal the art of creating an effective and impressive proposal and teach the value of repeat customers.
Topics of discussion:
- Active listening
- Project overview and timeline
- Taking notes
- Pricing and knowing your minimum
- Constructing the proposal
- Delivery of the proposal
- Follow Up and more
Keywords: Sheldon Primus, Primus, EHS, Safety and Health, Safety Consultant, Consultant, Proposal, ASSP, American Society of Safety Professional, Consultant Practice, Market, Client Relations, CEU, CE, Associations, Webinar, OSHA, OSHA training, Safety Culture
[00:00:02] spk_0: this episode is powered by safety FM.
[00:00:16] spk_1: Welcome to the safety consultant podcast. I'm
[00:00:18] spk_0: your host shoulder behind us.
[00:00:20] spk_1: This is the podcast where I teach you
[00:00:22] spk_0: how to
[00:00:23] spk_1: do the business of being a safety
[00:00:25] spk_0: consultant. This
[00:00:27] spk_1: one is actually going to be a podcast
[00:00:30] spk_0: slash broadcast. So
[00:00:34] spk_1: what I'm doing here is this
[00:00:36] spk_0: week, which
[00:00:37] spk_1: is the week of
[00:00:38] spk_0: february 3rd. I
[00:00:41] spk_1: Believe we're somewhere around that early, February 2022, the fifth, I believe it is. I just have no clue. But what I did do is I presented and I'm going to check my phone, those of you that are on safety consultant dot tv. You'll be able to see me on this one as I'm checking those of you that are listening to me on the podcast, You don't get to see anything because you're not on safety consultant tv that's safety consultant dot tv. That's how you get to it. Uh so I'm gonna be broadcasting this presentation that I did for the A. S. S. P. Today, which is february the fourth friday. So I was thinking, man, that's good stuff. I got to make sure my audience gets this and that's you guys. So I decided to just do a broadcast and the podcast together. So you guys are getting a little bit of both. So what you do is listen to it now, if you're on a podcast and then when you get
[00:01:42] spk_0: home go
[00:01:44] spk_1: to safety consultant dot tv
[00:01:46] spk_0: put
[00:01:46] spk_1: in code A. S. S. P. And this is the code I did for them for this event And that's gonna give you 30 days
[00:01:54] spk_0: free
[00:01:56] spk_1: and you're going to be able to see this broadcast and many other things and I have a portion of this where I give you my proposal and you can download the proposal
[00:02:08] spk_0: there. So
[00:02:10] spk_1: the topic that I did this
[00:02:11] spk_0: week for
[00:02:13] spk_1: the A. S. S. P. Is there consulting practice and it was called the art of a proposal, Understanding the value and understanding the value of repeat customers. So that is what I did today and it was really good, a good reception. I was, I was happy that that a lot of people seem to like it. I got some good feedback from its some people uh just connected with me on linkedin right after this. So yeah, it went well. So of course you guys who are listening to the podcast, you're not seeing the current slide, who is Sheldon, which is my current slide that tells you a little bit about myself, uh tells you that I'm a Master of public administration, that's my degree cost em is the certification certificate for occupational safety managers, costs artistic it for occupational safety specialist. I am an instructor for those two programs as well as the author of seven steps of starting at profitable safety consulting business. Sme for many companies in either reviewing their safety and health program or writing new ones for online red vector 3 60 training sample it most HSI and many more Executive director of neo city which is stands for national environmental and occupational safety training inc co founder and co owner of Shell bro, safety with my buddy Yarbrough, Kevin Yarbrough who is one of the episodes. If you have not listened to them you need to go back and listen to Kevin Yarbrough episode is awesome. X. OSHA about two years ago and past president of A S. S. P. South florida chapter and the founder of safety consultant tv so safety consultant dot tv you want to make sure you guys get a chance to do that but in code A. S. S. P. For a free month so that's what's the slide right there that you guys are not seeing in the broadcast but you at safety consultant tv seeing the rebroadcast of this one, you're actually seeing this so I'm going to keep going what this presentation was for is to help people not only find potential clients but then how are you going to conduct that meeting, analyze different components of the proposal, including how are you going to pick that price? Then we're also going to establish the mindset for pricing through the a few different ways, the different things that I've picked up along the way that I'm going to show you guys and then we're going to explain all three of those stages that would be considered client relations stages. So that's what we're going to go through today. So we'll start with finding clients. So there's many oh ways to find some clients and right now I'm going to give you a couple of these ways. Let's do more than a couple. Let's give you at least three. Right? And that's what I said. Three ways. So # one is your circle of influence. That circle could be anything, could be your church, could be youth groups where you're taking your kids there and you have to hang out anyway with other parents or maybe it is basketball or something similar. I'm saying basketball because that was my life back then when my kids were going through school this basketball, volleyball Swim at one point. So at that time you and some other parents get to talk. You get to know a little bit about them. Uh, if there is an opportunity as you're listening and you're hearing things and uh, it might touch on a specialty or might touch on something that you do chime in. It's okay. You know, politely get yourself in there. Hey or sorry, overheard you saying something. Uh did you know and they're, do you brief introduction? But those are people that are already gonna be there. They'll see you each week. They know you, you probably have some sort of acquaintance relationship with them already. So it's gonna be a little easier for you to be outside of your comfort zone talking to those type people because they're in your circle of influence. You're seeing them every day in some way. Another thing could be truly with school functions, you might want to get a business card size add in, uh, some things that your child may be doing. So you're supporting the event that is happening that your child is is in and you're also promoting the business at the same time. So it's a win win in those situations. So that could be another way for you to have that circle of influence, work for you for your business. If you're gonna do that, I will suggest using things like QR codes so people could just scan on the phone and be able to find either your website or your, you can use a QR code for emails and contacts and everything else, even your linkedin page. Uh, that might be a good way to keep that person where they could get connected to you. What will be even better is if you could do something like that and get him on the email list. So now you can narrate the conversation a little bit more. But that's good way number two for flying client. And again, we're talking about three ways to find a client that will lead you towards this art of proposal is going to be through associations and colleges. We've talked about this before in some previous episodes. So if you have not subscribed to the podcast yet, please go ahead and subscribe right now, wherever you're listening to me, unless you're driving because we always have a rule, if you're driving, you don't do anything but listen. And then when you get home, that's when you're going to go ahead and subscribe to the podcast and be able to go back and start listening to some of the other uh full detailed podcast episodes that I've done on. Some of the things that I'm mentioning here just briefly. But when you're going to talk to an association or you talk to a college, you want to go to the professional development department or the person who is responsible for c EU training continuing education units. You may call it C. E. Continuing education or some author name in your country. The idea is, professionals will need to keep getting more information to maintain their certifications and that is going to be proved or proven through continuing education units or an equivalent. So get your training to be approved for See us or use the association in the colleges and tell them here that this is the curriculum, This is what I'm gonna be training, this is the time. Can you get this on your schedule for approving a See us and use the leverage of them for that as well. So we got to circle of influence college and associations and then the third will be some worker specific association groups or you can extend that out to uh if you are one of the people that go to your local Chamber of Commerce that has meetings monthly or something similar to that networking meeting groups. And then at that point you could go ahead and offer a free seminar if you are OSHA or the equivalent of OSHA Authorized instructor where you can do the 10 and 30 hour classes. At that point, there is additional way for you to get yourself into a worker association. Just tell them you can offer these classes, do it at cost for them or do it at a very low price, It's a value added service for their network and that's the key you want to get to their network. So when you have them at the free seminar you have them at those classes, Deliver The Material 1st but then also have at least your flyers out or something. If someone wants to hang out and talk with you afterwards, that's a great idea. And then at that point you can exchange numbers and put, I've done this before, put an email list together where you could say if you want to be on my email list at the back table where I've got my flyers go ahead and do that. But the primary purpose would be to in any of these situations is to make sure you do the work first, do a great job and that will lead people to you. So there you go. Circle of influence associations and colleges, a worker association group and then if you become an authorized trainer for a regulatory agency then offer that type of training your students there will potentially be clients as well. So that's a good way. And I gave you four things, right? They're finding client. I mean, Come on. I said three and I ended up giving you four iroc. Alright. Had to throw in the applause there. So next what we're gonna do, we'll get, keep going on the same vein. So let's say now you've got the meeting, right? So you're there active listening is where it's gonna, it's gonna be the phrase we'll have. Right now you want to have the active listening skills take over. And what you really want to do is hear the true need of this client. What are they looking for? What's the value added system or service that they need? And if that fits your expertise. All right, let's talk about that a little bit more. Get some clarity of what the need would be. You might end up having to lead that person through some things such as um I remember at one time I had a company asking for job safety analysis, per job description and that's just not possible because the job safety analysis is per each task you break down the task into its essential steps for each step. You pick a hazard for each hazard you choose of, of hazard, some sort of hazard mitigation and or exposure medication that is the J. S. A. So I had to actually explain that to the client, potential client at the time. And then they're like okay so what we need is this and we just kind of collaborate. So that's what you're looking for. You're looking for a collaboration where this person who is now going to be a potential client gets excited about the project makes it their own and then they can start visualizing what this thing is gonna look like. You're writing notes, you're pitching and catching with them. And now as you guys are starting to visualize and see what this program and the process will be, then you're going to the next stage, you're thinking about your timeline, you're thinking about your budget, you're thinking about everything else that's going to make this successful. Fine. You're still really listening in to that client and getting that true need that they have so that you're going to be able to come back and win this thing. The next thing I'll talk about and I'm going kind of fast. The reason why is I want to make sure that you guys are going to get all the information you need and I'm not going to give you any fluff on this one. We're just gonna go straight information and uh I am going to direct you again to the safety consultant tv and you're gonna be able to see this, see the presentation and you can download the actual proposal will spend some time on that one, pricing is important. So don't do the project in hourly pricing but you do need to know your hourly rate because at some time you might give a project price but there's an overreach in time. You want to let them know that if there is an o virgin time, this is what it's going to be uh let them know ahead of time if you're getting close to that time period where the project may not be done because you need some more time and then get approval for adding that to the actual um price of the service. Let them know that I had the time to in the actual proposal. So you know what you actually want to make on the job as best as you can. So you get a price desired and then I suggest doubling that price, see what it looks like. It doesn't mean that you're going to come in all the way, but just, just see how comfortable you can get with it and then again, just know your, what you want to make out of the project. Another way to help you with pricing. And this is again, just to get your mindset going just to let you feel it out and see what your ultimate pricing will be, find out what other services are doing and going for in your area. So there's many ways of doing that, one will be on company websites, one will be word of mouth, you could look through people's profile on linkedin to find their, their websites and then if they do have public facing pricing, it's a good way to do it. So what you really want to do is you want to find out what is the market value going to be, don't go rogue and you know, do anything unethical such as trying to steal clients from your current employer if you're not on your own yet and try to do that. Now, leave that part alone. You're not taking any current clients from anyone you're arguing with, what you're doing is you're just kind of get an idea of pricing to help you where you're not going to be way off the market value. Um, eventually though you're going to set your own price and you'll be more fussy and picky and you'll be able to choose your clients that way. And it's really for project awareness, where are you now know that you've got a certain amount of projects that you've got to do and uh, you're not going to overbook yourself. And then also is, it's the stuff that lights you up, Makes you feel good. That's the stuff you're going to take. So in those cases you might end up having to turn down some jobs and you're going to have to make sure that you still have enough compensation to stay in the business and then you're just going to set your price and let it be. That's not right away. Okay. So now that that's going to come. So now that we talked about pricing, you gotta mindset on that, we're going to talk a little bit about the proposal itself. So what you're going to do is you want to make sure that you have a very good word processing system. I use the word Microsoft word, but you know, there's a few other versions of that you could use. So what you're looking for is a cover page first, make sure it's nice and professional cover page. Make sure you get your client name on there under the project title, just so they can see that this is for them on the very bottom of that cover page, you're gonna put your company name address if you need to a phone number or contact information, that's fine. Add your designation for your safety and health designation. If you do not have one, it's okay. It's not a deal breaker. But what you're going to end up having to do at the very back of your proposal is really make sure your bio just blows them away with the type of experience that you have in that particular field, your expertise and that will make up for not having a designation. However, when you get a chance and you can start taking some courses or whatever you need to do to get a safety and health designation or a degree degrees. Always first designation the second, then go ahead and do that. The next thing is gonna be your table of contents. So you want to make sure that T. O. C. Is looking good numbers. Number your pages. So if they're looking just for the deliverables yeah they might just do that or the payment cost or whatever and they want to go right to that page. You got your page numbered and then you also have your table of contents so you can show them where that is scrolling down. You might be able to actually literally hear me scroll but scrolling down you're gonna again start out with your project title because now you've gone through the title page, the cover page I should say you've gone through the table contents. That's page two. Page three. Now is going to give you the title page of the project. You could use a black background of the project or maybe background of the companies in the next spot which will be your your main um your number one. I've got a roman numeral one for me on my proposal that I have the template that you have available to you. So my background in there and the example is company overview which I could get straight from the about me page on the company's website that I'm trying to become their consultant for and then the client overview is me. So I'm gonna want to give them a little brief synopsis of what, who I am and what I do. Section two is going to be the scope of work from the meeting that you had before you really started nailing down the scope of work that they wanted. So this is where you're gonna put that in from your meeting notes. Put that in, be as descriptive as you can help them visualize all the different steps number three, Section three and you could say three, you could say a B or C or however you want to do it. But the Section three would be more of what will the client provide out of this project? Are they going to give you some help of someone who's knowledgeable in the safety system, in the management system? So you're gonna put in there that you're, they're responsible for providing you someone that is going to help you through the project or they're going to provide the training location, uh lunches, whatever it is. So you're going to put that in as their part. Section four, you're going to put in your part, what are you providing? You have a nice detail on that one. You're gonna have many sub bullets under this one. So you want to tell them exactly what is the project going to be then after that you're going to tell them the deliverables, so that's gonna be step five, the actual things that will come out and either they're going to hold this thing in their hand or they're going to have access to something that's your deliverables, Then you're gonna do your period of service. How long it takes in your mind, if it takes 13 days or let's say 15 days and give yourself 30 days. If it's a project that the clients as they need in a certain amount of time then go ahead and use that time frame. But if you're flexible with time then give yourself some extra, then you're going to put in the cost to make sure you're going to identify the cost per project. Uh if you do have something like training and you want to give like an equivalent to say between this range is going to be the project price, anybody over that will be the per person price. And that might help you next after that is going to tell you the payment. How do you want to receive your money right all up in front of which will be more a retainer Generally do 50% retainer 25% when I submit the primary um draft copy or Even finish a Meck OSHA audit at that time, then the 25% will be do and then at the very last meeting or when I hand them the final draft, not waiting for the final approval. When I hand them the final draft uh then that is going to be the 25% to round up 100%. So 50 when they approved the contract, Another 25 during the first draft that you submit. And then the final 25 when you're, you know, get your final draft in and you give them to that some of some of your clients will not work this way. So just now ahead of time you may have some clients that where you have to do all the work first and then you're gonna get paid. That's okay because sometimes that's just their bureaucracy, especially for working with the city or county or something similar to that, it may take you some time. So that's why you're going to have to keep doing this until you get enough business that you're not going to have to work so hard for the first client. And that's actually a topic. I'll come up with later and show you that one. And then after that you're after your your timeline for payment. And then the next thing you're going to do is you wanna give them your bio brag on yourself, put that bio in their first couple of sentences or to say even the first paragraph is going to be your expertise. What makes you an expert, give them your education. Tell them the years you've been in the business and then as you're working way down, you're going to tell them about projects that either you've done or projects that are coming up and keep going with that bio. You want to make sure that you give them a proof that you've done this work for other people and that's where you're going to tell them the list of people who have been clients before. And if you're just starting out and you don't have that list, then the next thing that you're gonna want to go for is um you want to ask for reviews from people you've worked with before, even informally or you could even do linkedin review that you have on your linkedin the referrals, then put those in there. Uh that's the way to do it. If you down the class and you asked the class to give some feedback and then put that in. So those are some of the ways that you're gonna be able to be able to set yourself apart from someone else. So, it's truly one of the ways to to get yourself um some clients is make that proposal look good. Once you do that proposal, you're gonna end up having to follow up on that. The follow up stage is part of the three stage client thing that I've mentioned in the beginning, pre stage of your project, meaning your client relationship. Just when you guys are getting started, you're meeting each other, you're getting the the project worked out. That is the pre stage of the client relationship during is when you're actually doing the project and you're nailing the project, you're getting this thing done right, you're telling them exactly what they wanted to hear from the proposal you laid out for them, you're doing it, you're getting this thing going. So that is going to be the during stage. But after that it's not over because now you're going to be making sure that the client is happy with what you've done follow up with that keep calling them, keep sending emails from time to time. That's the that's the way that you're gonna keep it going. But what you're looking for and I've mentioned this in a couple episodes in the past because you really want to make sure that you get that for ex relationship. So the forex relationship is going to be considered the first time that you did a project for them. That's one time you do repeat project maybe it's the next year and you do an annual training. All right, That's two. Or you're doing a mock OSHA audit or a mock audit for safety. And then while you're there, you notice that oh man, the written programs are a mess. Let's work almost. All right. Now you got to
[00:26:56] spk_0: get
[00:26:57] spk_1: referrals from them to a friend or to someone else. Now you've got three.
[00:27:01] spk_0: So
[00:27:02] spk_1: you're gonna find a way for everyone client to get four interactions with them. It doesn't mean that it's
[00:27:08] spk_0: gonna
[00:27:10] spk_1: always be
[00:27:11] spk_0: paid.
[00:27:12] spk_1: But if they know like you and now that you've done well before they're gonna want to come back. It's an easier step for them to go with someone. They already know, someone that they have already
[00:27:22] spk_0: worked with.
[00:27:23] spk_1: So that is the key. That's what we're calling the four X. On that relationship.
[00:27:30] spk_0: So
[00:27:31] spk_1: you guys learned in this quick amount of time how to find potential clients. I learned in the meeting how to get yourself going in the
[00:27:39] spk_0: meeting. Uh
[00:27:40] spk_1: You also learned a lot about how to analyze the actual proposal including the pricing mindset
[00:27:47] spk_0: and
[00:27:48] spk_1: then we just went over the three stages of your client relations.
[00:27:51] spk_0: So
[00:27:53] spk_1: thank you so much for being part of the episode. I know this one's a little different than before and I am going to try to keep going with this type of training from time to time. This one was stuck in my mind because I just finished doing it today with the A. S. S. P. Yeah so I was very appreciative for them to give me that chance and an opportunity. So that's why those you and safety consultant tv you're seeing the A. S. S. P. Background because I just kept the same power point and everything that I gave to them.
[00:28:26] spk_0: So
[00:28:26] spk_1: if you have not again subscribe to the podcast, make sure you do and if you haven't joined
[00:28:32] spk_0: the safety
[00:28:33] spk_1: consultant dot tv
[00:28:35] spk_0: go
[00:28:35] spk_1: ahead do that right now you're gonna put in code A SSP that also be in that free month. So you get a free month free just so you could see this presentation again, you're gonna get a good feel for for the content. You can see it anywhere basically and Itunes and Youtube and all the other stuff even
[00:28:54] spk_0: more, I don't remember. Alright. This episode has been powered by safety FM views and opinions expressed on this podcast or broadcast. Are those of the host of its guests and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the company. Examples of analysis discussed within the past hour are only examples. They should not be legalized in the real world as the only solution available as they are based on very limited and dated open source information, assumptions made within this analysis are not reflective of the position of the company. No part of this podcast or broadcast may be reproduced stored within a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by anyone's mechanical, electronic recording or otherwise without prior written permission of the creator of the podcast or broadcast Sheldon brightness