Career

7 Steps to the Winning Proposal

The proposal is often the make-or-break moment in landing a sale. Geoffrey James writes for Inc. with seven steps to writing the most effective proposals, based upon current trends and time-tested methods.

Stick the Landing

Remembering that the proposal is “a sales tool, not an information packet,” you should address three questions pertaining to it: Is this proposal compliant? Does this proposal make sense? And does the solution provide value? Research the customer and even try to get interviews with people in various areas who are involved in evaluating the proposal. Ideally, you have already laid the appropriate groundwork to establish your business’s notoriety and ability to deliver results. When all information has been presented on both sides, you can get to brainstorming the best method by which to help customers.

Then you should build an executive summary, which James notes is actually not a summary of proposal contents; rather, it is a summary of basic issues, how your business intends to solve them, and what will be the result. As for writing the actual body of the proposal, James says:

The body contains detailed explanations of how you will do the work, the people involved, your prior successful experience you have in this area, previous customers you've help on similar projects, and evidence of your core competency and financial stability.

In many cases, the customer will have already defined the structure of the proposal or provided a template.  If so, follow that structure exactly… decisions are usually made based on the executive summary, but failing to follow a template automatically disqualifies you, regardless.

Once that is done, you just have to edit the thing endlessly until it sparkles. Consider hiring an outside copy editor for additional improvements. You can read the original article here: http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/how-to-write-a-winning-proposal.html

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