The introduction is the most important part of your business proposal and it makes a massive difference in whether the client signs or not. Instead of writing one, you can record a video introduction for your proposal, but there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind.
As research shows, clients spend the most time on the introduction pages of business proposals, second to the pricing page. This shows the importance of the introduction to your proposal, which helps you make the best first impression, draws attention and explains why your proposal is worth your clients’ time.
It goes without saying that you should have a written-out version of your video before you start filming. No one shines in front of the camera without a good script. Write it down and practice before you turn the camera on so that you don’t lose your confidence at the very beginning.
Bonus Read: How to Write a Video Script
In order to save time, once you write your script, have a couple of people look at it and give their input. At this point, you want to make sure everything is clear and that the people who are not a part of your industry understand everything that is being said.
The main components of a video introduction are your USP (unique selling point), branding, and credibility. Before writing, you should make sure you understand and can clearly state your USP. It should be said in the beginning, because it will draw people in and differentiate you from your competitors.
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If you’re not sure about what your USP could be, think about these things - how does your service stand out from similar services, do you have any unique features, can you deliver results in a quicker span of time or better results in the same time span as your competitors.
A good example of a successful USP is Ben & Jerry’s - We make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way. There are a lot of different ice cream brands, but no one puts their ethically sourced ingredients in the spotlight quite like Ben & Jerry. They support GMO labelling, fairtrade, and cage-free farms and they use it in their branding and marketing.
Branding is important throughout the video because you want to be remembered and give a professional look to your proposal. Make sure you watermark your video with your logo, which should be visible at all times.
The right way to present your credibility is by presenting achievable goals and supporting your claims with references to past clients. Don’t use this time to break down a case study, simply state that you’ve already worked with similar clients and announce a later chapter in which you’ll focus more on your previous successes.
Your introduction should be short and pack the punch it takes to entice people into reading the rest of your proposal. Think about that when you’re pacing yourself. You need to be energetic on video and get people excited about your solution to their problem.
At the same time, don’t burn yourself out. You don’t want your clients to have to take a breather after your introduction video. The entirety of your proposal should have a natural flow.
Don’t talk about yourself
The introduction should be all about the customer and their problem. Avoid talking about how great your company is and what kind of problems you solve, how many awards you have, etc. Focus on the customer only.
Talking about yourself will distract your client and won’t bring you the results you’re hoping for. The best thing you can do in your introduction video is explain to the client the problem they have and how you’re going to solve it. Use their words and express how important it is for them to solve the problem at hand.
They already know that they need to fix something, even if they’re not sure about what specifically. Make sure to keep that point short and don’t even think about placing blame on anyone. You want your prospective client to like you, so don’t call them out on their mistakes.
Keep it short and to the point
The introduction is just one point of the proposal. Ideally, you have about 7-8 sections per proposal and you want the customer to move on to the rest after viewing the introduction video - so keep it a few minutes long but no more than that.
Having to create a short introduction video can sometimes be tedious when you don't have the proper tips or knowledge in doing so. Basically, it's like starting a vlog, you should create a script first in order to properly process your train of thought, and in that way, you wouldn't be able to take a lot of time in recording your short introduction video.
Bonus Read: How long should your videos be?
Once you write your proposal introduction, make sure that every sentence is crucial and is stating something new. All other sentences should be dismissed. You don’t want the client to lose interest early in the proposal, so cut any fluff and sentences that reiterate something you’ve already said.
Keep the language simple
Don’t use industry-specific terms and try to impress the customer. The video should have the same language that the customer used to describe their problem. Talk back to them using their own words to keep them engaged and motivated to buy.
The best way to test this is by showing your end result to colleagues and friends who are not in the same industry as you. If they understand everything, you’re good to go. Creating a piece of content that is engaging and easy to understand isn’t easy, so give yourself time.
Don’t get into the specifics of how you’ll solve their problem
The introduction merely describes that you understand the problem that the customer is facing. Discuss your solution in the part after the introduction, called the detailed specification.
It’s important to think about the pacing of your proposal. If you give everything away at the start and then slow down to talk about your previous successes, you’ll create a proposal that is confusing and hard to follow.
The introduction is meant for your client to ease into your proposal. At this point, he or she wants to hear in their own words what the problem is and how you’re going to solve it in a sentence or two.
They have already seen plenty of proposals, so they know to expect a deeper dive into the solution in the later parts of the proposal. The pacing is also important because you want to give them all the information before they come to the pricing page.
That way, they’ll know the value of your work and your expertise before they see how much they’re expected to pay.
Using branding elements in your video is an effective way of differentiating yourself whilst delivering a sense of credibility and trust. It can be as simple as using brand colours in the video, adding a brand logo watermark, adding intros and outros etc
Branding elements are meant to enhance the positive aspects of a proposal video, they cannot paper over obvious shortcomings such as a hastily produced video or an unclearly delivered message.
A brand can establish credibility but making claims that you can’t back up while creating your proposal video can destroy the same. Resist the urge use hyperbole or salesy language to appeal to the viewer. Never make claims that you can’t back up with action later, set realistic expectations and deliver accordingly.
How to get camera-ready
Firstly, pick your background and the perfect camera angle for you. Pick a clean, clutter-free surrounding that has enough light. You can play a bit with your branding and wear a branded shirt, or have something with your logo in the background.
A pro tip is to create a color scheme that follows the color palette of your branding. If you’re using visual aids, don’t go overboard. Keep them to a minimum in order to not distract too much from your message.
In order to keep the audio quality intact, close all windows and turn off any loud fans or AC. Keep your camera at eye level and look directly at it while you’re speaking. That way, it’ll seem like you’re looking your client in the eye.
Keep in mind that proposals are usually viewed and read by a single person so don’t speak to a crowd, but hone in your message to one person. Try to connect with your client and make sure to smile and keep the tone natural and conversational.
Bonus Read: How to Overcome Camera Anxiety
Seeing how important the introduction pages of business proposals are, it’s clear that you’d want to spend extra time crafting them. Once you have a solid understanding of everything you want to cover, write it all down and rehearse.
Make sure to ask people for help and work out your script before you start filming. This goes for the rest of your proposal as well. Remember that your client may not be on the same level of understanding as you are so don’t confuse them with industry jargon. Moreover, this is just the beginning of your proposal and you want your client to read the whole thing so pace yourself.
If you go into too much detail in your introduction, you’ll lose out on the natural pace of business proposals and you’ll end up repeating yourself in the latter parts. You don’t want to reiterate everything in the social proof or ROI chapter.
Once that is done, you can think about your surroundings, the clothes you want to wear, and how you’d want to set up the shot. Making a video introduction will truly set you apart from your competition and give your client a taste of the commitment you have towards your job. A creative solution is something that a lot of people value and look forward to.
Bonus Read: How to be Comfortable on Video
Our last extra tip is to keep your content light and to try and be casual. Not everyone is a natural in front of the camera, but if you keep calm and don’t show any stage fright, you’ll come off looking professional and experienced.