How to write a winning proposal

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

How to write a winning proposal?

  1. Workout a value proposition

    Your product or service has features. These features have benefits.
    We often stop there. However, benefits are not always fitting all your clients or prospects.
    What value does my product or service bring to the client or prospect? This is the question to answer in a value proposition.

  2. Design a win theme

    Based on the value proposition, which level will I press to position it? To answer this question, we need to study the situation of the client and the state of the competition and learn what has already been attempted by the clients or prospects to address the proposal’s goal.

  3. Write the Executive Summary first

    In maximum 2 pages, write what value proposition you bring to your clients/prospects. These are often the only pages that some executives will read. It would be best to consider that the rest of the proposal is simply supporting documentation to substantiate the value proposition.
    Bear in mind you are speaking TO the client/prospect, not ABOUT you, so start most of the sentence with YOU or the name of the client/prospect. Describe their issues (not everybody in their company knows them) and the value you bring them at which price.
    Everybody loves to read, for ex., that they have a $1M problem or opportunity, and they can confidentially address it with your solution costing only $100K.

  4. Make a list of all the requirements (if formal RFI/RFQ/RFP) and respond to them.

    An RFI/RFQ/RFP lists points that need to be addressed, answered and offered. We must address them if we don’t see them the same way. Having a table with the points and answers we are bringing helps us stay compliant. A table listing their requirements and showing on which page they are answered is handy.

  5. Add the necessary details (only necessary!) and counter solution (if the requested one is not the best proposal)

    Don’t just be compliant. If you have a better approach, describe it as an “alternative solution”.

  6. Check, check and double-check

    They are nothing worse than having a proposal with another company’s name left in the document. Block a few hours before the deadline to check and double-check the documentation.

  7. When the proposal is delivered, work on the presentation

    Insist on obtaining a slot to present your solution. This is important!
    At the presentation, spend less than 1/2 of the time presenting your value proposition and most time on a Q&A to address their questions, concerns and possible objections.
    This will make a significant difference in the chances of winning.
    Tips we wrong on presentation (“How to prepare a great presentation”) will help you.

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