img_0865At least, it’s not purely logical. To influence more deeply and fundamentally requires an emotional connection.

I recently spoke at six sessions of IGD’s Leading Edge, the association for managers and executives in the grocery and food distribution business, on the topic of preparing compelling business proposals.

When I asked the groups about the minimum needs of a decision-maker are for any proposal, this is what they consistently came up with:

Facts, size of prize, costs, benefits, risks, resources required, timings, next steps, fit with current plans, do-ability, recommendations, rationale, data integrity, success criteria, background information.

This is logical and sensible stuff and is, of course, necessary in any proposal. When I asked them how they could really make their proposal stand out from the crowd, I got a different list:

Enthusiasm, samples and props, personal relationship, a different style, clear link to decision-maker’s personal objectives, tailored to personality, uniqueness, interaction, something more than they asked for, passion, fit into a bigger objective, demonstrate that you’re listening.

These factors are emotional – they are more of the ‘soft’ but difficult stuff.

Do you have a proposal coming up? Make sure that you’ve got the logic of the proposal covered, certainly, but don’t forget to engage your decision-maker on a more personal, emotional basis.

© Stuart Cross 2010. All rights reserved.