Here’s the scenario. It’s Friday afternoon and an event planner calls looking for a proposal for a corporate client. She wants it emailed by 10:00 a.m. Monday. Yours will be one of the three she will present to her client. And there’s the rub—she’s doing the presentation, not you. So how are you going to make your voice heard at the pitch meeting? With a proposal that is so striking and imaginative the other two just fade away. Here are some of the ways to craft the proposal that pops.
Set the stage and tell the story. “As guests arrive they ascend the grand staircase to the balcony where our staff greet them with smiles, champagne, and scrumptious hors d’oeuvres artfully presented with river rocks and reeds on stylish polished aluminum salvers.”
Make them hungry. I’d rather eat seared garlic and lime scented tenderloin skewers than filet kabobs. Words matter, and with food there are so many “yummy” words. Plus, if those skewers are staged in a jewel box with a flashy orchid they taste even better, so…
Make them eat with their eyes as well. Mouthwatering photos of your delicious food, well lit and staged, are essential.
Put the reader in the scene. Describe the design elements of your tablescapes with evocative words and photos. As they read, the clients will become more and more immersed in the vision you have designed. It’s not just a vase of red tulips. It’s a glass cylinder enveloped in birch bark bursting with scarlet French tulips.
Food follows function. Stationary tablescapes encourage mingling. Performance stations can be showstoppers. Explain how your menu will create energy and excitement, both key elements for a successful event. Don’t stop with the larger view. Add some flare to the basics. Take a popular comfort food menu and add a twist. Mashed potatoes, or buttermilk mashed potatoes with garden-fresh herbs and a hint of truffle? Which one do you want to eat?
Pepper the proposal with Buzzwords that relate to the client or event. Let’s say it’s an Electric Power company dinner. Use words amp, grid, or wired for a clever tie-in. Clients like a witty phrase here and there if it fits.
When the presentation concludes, the clients will think they were actually there seeing tablescapes, tasting food, sensing energy, hearing buzz, smelling success. Most importantly, wanting you to cater their event.
When your kick-ass proposal is ready, make sure you PDF it before sending.
Trite but true—you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
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