I’ve led or been part of many proposal teams over the years, having won well over a billion dollars, pushing 2 billion, in sales. Some deals have been as large as $150 million, while others, just a couple of thousand dollars.
There are many things I’ve learned about writing a better proposal through the years but the main ingredient to writing a better proposal is sincerity.
If It Smells Like Manure…
Like a manure wagon full of…well…manure…you can smell a proposal that is full of bullshit from a mile away – and so can your would-be client. All of the salesy, markety, talkety-talk in the world can’t get you past it.
Yes, there is a sucker born every minute and those individual suckers walking down the street or scrolling through their Twitter feed will buy the snake oil every time. But that’s just circus barker type sales. Not a lot of personal gratification unless taking other people’s hard earned money is satisfying.
But that’s not the kind of proposal I’m talking about. I’m talking about true business proposals that someone is going to review in detail before making a decision to acquire your product or service. These proposals might be a page or, as is often the case with larger opportunities, several hundred pages in length.
Honesty is Still the Best Policy
I’ve always felt that a key is honestly believing in what you have to offer and being able to back those beliefs up with indisputable facts. You can’t say things like, “We’re the best” without offering evidence to support that position or it comes off as insincere.
I am also a firm believer that a winning proposal focuses very little on slamming the competition. Rather, it focuses primarily on why your product or service is the best fit for the client.
Note – repeat – the best fit for the client.
Don’t waste time telling everyone how great you are. Relate to the client’s pain, then explain, using simple terms (brevity is your friend), why what you offer is the best fit for their needs – and mean it.
Sincerity. What a concept.
I Can Help
If your team has a big proposal coming up and you can use a little help, contact me and let’s discuss how and if I can be of assistance. Good luck!