Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Win for CSC (Graphics Played a MAJOR Role)

I'm pleased to announce that I was part of the winning team for a big CSC win ($500M)! CSC hired 24 Hour Company for a must win proposal and my team and I conceptualized and rendered graphics that quickly and clearly communicated why CSC had the best solution. The evaluators were blown away.

The team at CSC was amazing! They really knew their subject matter and worked hard to ensure their client had the best solution possible. Congrats to all!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

2 Reasons Sales Presentations and Proposals Fail

Assuming you have a good solution at a fair price, sales presentations and proposals fail for two reasons:
1. Poor sales activity.
2. Poor communication of the solution.

During sales (also called "capture" for some) you need to understand your future client's real needs. You need to establish rapport, if possible. Your future client is risk adverse. They buy what they trust. They trust what they know, what they are familiar with. You need to speak their language. (What do they call their current solution? What acronyms do they use? What are their goals? What is their mission?) Sales activity needs to uncover this information and help establish rapport. If it is impossible to establish rapport with your future client, create mind share. Own a space in their mind. (Think marketing and repetition.) When your future client thinks of X (whatever is linked to your solution) make sure you or your company pops into their mind.

You have very little time to communicate why your future client should care. Quickly give them an overview of your solution and show them how they will benefit. Most sales presentations and proposals bury the solution in wordy descriptions and mountains of text. EVERY decision maker and evaluator I have interviewed says the same thing, "Make it easy for me to understand your solution and I will probably choose you." That is why visual communication plays a major role. (Graphics communicate solutions up to 60,000 times faster than text, go right to long term memory, quickly affect people emotionally, and are proven to increase success rates.)

It is a misconception that all graphic designers are good visual communicators. Many are good renderers (they can use the tools available to make attractive graphics) and some are good conceptualizers. What I mean is that many designers are good artists and some are good at turning text, ideas, and solutions into clear, compelling visuals. (My fellow designers know where their strengths are.) The same is true for writers, engineers, accountants, lawyers, scientists, business professionals of all types. We have our specialties. We have our strengths and weaknesses. Designers are the same.

In the end, most sales presentations and proposals ignore visual communication all together or ask a talented graphic designer who specializes in rendering to do conceptualization. That's like asking a plastic surgeon to do brain surgery. After 20 years, it kills me to see beautiful graphics that communicate very little if anything at all.

Assuming you have a good solution at a fair price, if you put forth the right sales effort and communicate your solution quickly and clearly (giving your future client a reason to care) you will succeed. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself or email me: I'll share countless true stories of success and failure from big and small companies alike. Now go help others, spread the word that your solution is the best, and be successful!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Secret to Saving $$$ on Your Next Project

You have a new presentation or proposal to do. Where will you spend the most money? I'm guessing your answer is labor cost. The author(s) of the presentation or proposal spend countless hours coming up with the best way to show that you and your company are the best-of-the-best. Your presentation or proposal needs to show that you have the winning solution so you or your team write, tweak, rewrite, rearrange, and review again and again to get it right. That costs a lot of money.

How do you spend less money (and time)? Visualize the solution first. It is guaranteed to work and here is why:
  1. It helps you find holes. You can see where there is a gap in logic, the process, and/or the solution.
  2. It Gets everyone on the same page—fast. Everyone has to agree to this approach early in the development vs. later, which creates much more work.
  3. If you and your team can visualize the solution, you can quickly write to it. You can paint a vivid picture and tell a compelling story that is unforgettable.
Simply make a rough sketch (no art degree needed) that you can explain to anyone. Stick figures are fine. The intent is to make sure that everyone involved (you, your team, your boss) pictures the same thing.

We are visual creatures. We remember and connect with imagery far better than facts and figures. Painting a picture that tells a story is the fastest way to success. Andy Bounds, the author of The Jelly Effect: How to make your communication stick said it best when he stated, "Facts tell and stories sell."

In addition to lowering cost, visualizing the solution first has other benefits which include: increased moral, less miscommunication, better teamwork, and more time to focus on other important tasks that inevitably pop up.

Visualize the solution first and I guarantee that your labor costs will drop.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Billion Dollar Win for My Client!

KC-X, a USAF contract that covers 175 production aircraft and 4 test platforms for their new aerial tanker fleet, is a BIG win for any company. The first phase alone is likely to reach $35+ billion over 25 years!

My client, Northrop Grumman, was awarded the multi-billion dollar contract. Boeing may protest the decsion and time will tell what the USAF decides. Either way, graphics were a big part of the proposal and will play a siginificant roll in the final decision.

Thanks to a dedicated team of technical experts, managers, graphic designers (from companies including Northrop Grumman and 24 Hour Company), the proposal was a success. Congratulations to everyone on the team!