While your affability, clothing and proposal (often in that order) do go into selecting the right website developer, once the bad and the ugly (or at least the ugly) have been eliminated the buyer will then usually use a very simple algorithm for selecting the optimal vendor. It is called the Goldilocks Strategy and it works as follows . . .
They remove the lowest and highest bid and select a bid that’s “not too high” (waste of money) and “not too low” (waaaay too risky). Quite often buyers will use a bracketed Goldilocks where they already have minimum and maximum budget points in their mind and then select either the lowest price within their budget (why waste more?) or the Goldilocks provider that is right in the middle of their target range, so getting a target price range by hook or by crook is a really good idea if you want to have any chance of getting the deal.
As such the main goal of your proposal is to ensure you don’t get excluded (by saying anything you shouldn’t or by not saying anything you should) and to be pretty and credible enough that if you’re near the Goldilocks point, the eenie-meenie process is more likely to land on your beautifully bound full color
tomb tome rather than the photocopied mess from the other guy (you wish!).
Some buyers also modify the Goldilocks by pre-qualifying using “the consultants test” which broadly stated is that as long as there is a nice short, readable and comprehensible summary upfront (including a pricing summary), the likelihood of success and the weight of the proposal are closely correlated! It has been proved repeatedly that this test is negatively correlated with success, but it still allows large consulting organizations to be paid a great deal of money to send inexperienced MBAs around the world to support the position of the person funding the report, so why not take advantage of it and bump up the weight of your proposals – ideally with flow diagrams of your process and full color screenshots of previously compete projects?!
Sorry all – I’m trying to figure out a mechanism for facilitating the pricing of standard, modified and custom web apps more efficiently and as I think through the success factors that drive proposals acceptance I’m getting into cynical mood :->
Anyone have any things they've found have helped them to increase the success rates of their quotes?