Proposal Presentations: The Architect's 5 Step Process To Winning

March 26, 2023

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

Do you often find yourself sending and submitting proposals to clients and hoping for an immediate response?

It’s the easy thing to do, right? You’re busy and there’s lots of proposals to be written. You’ve already spent upfront time with your client so it can feel excessive to put in more effort without a signed contract.

So what’s the problem with sending proposals to save yourself time?

  1. Lack of personal touch: When you send a proposal over email, you miss out on a prime opportunity to build additional trust and rapport with your client.

  2. Risk of misunderstanding: Without the context and explanation, the client may not fully understand what you are proposing or why it's the best solution for them.

  3. Less opportunity for questions: When you send a proposal, the client can’t quickly ask questions or get clarification on certain points.

  4. Potential for misinterpretation: Everyone writes and reads differently. This doesn’t lend well to business proposals as tone, context, and intent can quickly be lost.

Altogether, sending proposals is much less effective at closing deals with high-quality clients and building strong, meaningful relationships.

The reality is that most proposals are lost because of emotional factors rather than financial factors. It’s easy to forget the power of a personal touch - clients want to work with architects that they trust and make them feel comfortable. This is one of the reasons it’s important to build rapport in every interaction and approach discovery calls in a way that allows you to dive deeper into your client’s needs.

But it shouldn’t stop there.

By presenting the proposal with a personal touch, you can ensure that the client understands why you offer the most value and how you will help them achieve their desired outcome.

Let’s dive in to how you can add a more personal touch to your proposal presentations and increase your win rates with high-quality clients.

01 // Meet live with your client

I understand that everyone has different availabilities and commitment levels. Here’s how I would rank different proposal delivery methods from worst to best:

  1. Email

  2. Phone call

  3. Video call

  4. In-person

Basically, anything is better than just sending an email.

I would recommend testing all of these methods and choosing the one that strikes the best balance for you between time commitment and win rate.

02 // Summarize each section

Proposals are long and, despite your best efforts, they’re not always a thrill to dive into. You don’t want the proposal to be a “read aloud” situation where you simply repeat the paragraphs on each page.

Instead, condense each section of your proposal to the core value proposition and explain it to your client in 1-2 sentences. Reinforce the most important points each time. This will make it easy for them to understand and digest the information - not to mention the fact that you’ll be available to answer any immediate questions or concerns.

Tip: Don’t forget to practice! It won’t feel natural to summarize lots of information into short explanations.

03 // Reiterate client challenges

Remember all of that wonderful discovery and those amazing questions you asked in previous meetings? Now is the best time to spring that into action!

You want to exemplify your ability to address your clients needs. The best way to do that is by thoughtfully recalling and reiterating why they’re there - what challenges are they trying to solve and what are they hoping to achieve?

Ideally, this becomes part of your summary for each section. But it’s particularly useful when you reach the point of describing any case studies or walking through your process.

For example:

  • "You mentioned that your kitchen is problematic because there’s not enough space for your family to gather. Here’s how we solved that with another client…"

  • "You told me that you’re concerned about maximizing your investment. That’s why we’re going to focus heavily on the feasibility phase…"

  • "You mentioned that natural light is one of the most important needs. During this phase, we’ll address that through a series of studies…"

You get the picture - don’t forget about everything your client told you.

04 // After pricing, lock it up

The time has come to dive into your pricing. I’ve written about this process a couple of times (don’t forget about anchoring) but here’s the deal:

Stop talking after you present your price.

Lock it up, people! This can be uncomfortable, but it's important to resist the urge to immediately justify. By remaining silent, you give the client the space to think and ask any questions they may have. This can also give you insight into how the client values your services and what objections you will have to overcome.

05 // Moving forward

Speaking of objections, you’ll find that oftentimes the client will want some time to process before signing. As much as you want them to sign in the moment, it shouldn’t feel like the end of the world if they want to evaluate.

However, the problem emerges when and if you don’t understand exactly why they can’t move forward in the moment. So if they’re hesitant to sign at the end of the proposal, try this question:

"What is stopping you from moving forward right now?"

It’s one of my favorite questions of all time. By asking this question, you give the client the opportunity to express any concerns they may have and address them in real time. This is another valuable opportunity to build trust and demonstrate that you are the best fit for their specific needs.


Delivering proposals via email without walking your client through it live leaves a big opportunity on the table. To increase win rates with high-quality clients:

  1. Meet live with your client.

  2. Summarize each section in 1-2 sentences.

  3. Regularly reiterate client challenges.

  4. Lock it up after presenting your price.

  5. Use “What is stopping you from moving forward right now?” to uncover final objections.

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