I wrote up the proposal for Rob’s prospect, and email’d it to Rob yesterday afternoon. I don’t have any feedback on the document yet, but everything was pretty much by the book. I wrote the proposal like I normally would, but lowered the overall time estimate slightly compared to what I would normally make it. I didn't want to deceive Rob about our skills in relation to the business sale, but thinking of the advice from Marty (most businesses aren't sold to the first buyer) and Jack (don't give anything away), I thought that if everything fell apart between us and Rob, and we were going to be competitors on future deals, I wanted him to think we were faster than we really were.
I'm surprised Jack hasn't contacted me to see how things went, but David and I had a few emails back and forth, discussing what I should or shouldn't include in my part of the proposal. After our back and forth, we decided that there wasn't any secret sauce in the technical work, that almost anyone who heard what I heard would draw up the same solution.
If there's any "secret sauce" in meeting with prospects like this, the biggest thing is getting them to trust you, and really listening to what they're saying. You have to have empathy for their situation, ask a lot of questions to find out what they're comfortable with and where they're going, and then decide on the best approach for their particular situation. After that you just sketch up some industry-standard diagrams that show what you're thinking, and add a cost proposal to it. At this point an "expert" is faster but presumably charges more, while a novice is slower and presumably charges less.
It feels weird, but this proposal is out of my hands now. I'm curious to see if "we" will get the job, but all I can do now is wait.