What are Some Tips for Writing Great Proposals?

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Baskar Sundaram

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There are simple things a non-writer can do to dramatically improve their proposal writing. Read the tips given below to transform your writing into a compelling and persuasive proposal and significantly improve your chances of winning.

Keep the evaluation criteria in mind

You should study the evaluation criteria and make sure that what you have written will get the highest score. Use their terminology as closely as possible. Anything you have written, no matter how important to you, will not help you win if it is not addressed in the evaluation criteria. The best thing you can do is to provide snippets that can easily be copied and pasted from what you wrote onto their evaluation forms to justify their score.

Prove RFP compliance

If you are not compliant with every requirement, your proposal may not even get evaluated. When there are lots of proposals submitted, the easiest way to get out of reading them all is to disqualify as many as possible based on non-compliance. Make sure they can find all of the RFP requirements in your proposal and that they can easily match what they see in your proposal to those requirements.

Include all of the keywords from the RFP

You must use the RFP’s terminology instead of your own. The evaluator will be looking at the RFP and then looking at what you wrote to see where you have addressed what is in the RFP. When they do that, they will be skimming for the keywords.

Exceed the requirements of the RFP

Everyone is responding to the same RFP. Any competition will also be compliant. If you are merely compliant then at best you are competing solely on price and at worst vulnerable to someone else offering something better.

Exceeding the specifications of the RFP does not have to mean increasing your price. Think of the competition when answering customer questions and always be one step ahead.

Give evaluator a reason for choosing you

The customer is making a purchase and has multiple offerings to choose from. Does your proposal give them reasons to want what you are offering more than what anyone else might be offering? This means you need to understand what they really want, which may or may not actually be found in the RFP. Your proposal must provide compelling reasons for the evaluator to select you.

Write from the customer’s perspective

If every sentence starts with your company’s name, there is a good chance that you have written about yourself and not about what matters to the evaluator. When you talk with a sales person, do you want to hear them talk all about themselves or do you want to hear them talk about what the offering will do for you and how you will benefit from it? Look at every sentence and make sure that every feature, attribute, or piece of information you provide is put into the customer’s context.

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