Winning the Business: 7 Ironclad Tactics to Write a Killer Proposal

Winning the Business: 7 Ironclad Tactics to Write a Killer Proposal

Tore Medhaug
15. Sep 2022 | 5 min read

Winning the Business: 7 Ironclad Tactics to Write a Killer Proposal

In an ideal world, business proposals would be easy to write. Your proposal team would breeze through them, presenting compelling arguments and overcoming objections like Plato, and voilà! Deal closed.

In reality, putting together a winning proposal is no walk in the park. How do you make sure you present an honest and convincing proposal without making it look like just another sales pitch?

Good news: Using these seven proven strategies, you can write a business proposal that instantly gives you an edge over your competitors.

1#Write Clearly and Concisely

Using jargon, excessive verbiage, and run-on sentences to demonstrate how smart you are is common in business writing, especially in proposals. Don't do it. Keep it short. Get your point across and move on.

Always keep in mind that the evaluators will have little or no idea what you are proposing when they begin reading your proposal, so you have to explain the process step-by-step. To do this, start at the beginning and make each point clearly, simply, and logically. Take a broad view and drill down from there.

2#Present a Compelling Argument and Overcome Potential Obstacles

Proposals are, at the core, sales documents. Here, you present your company in the best light, ensuring that the prospective client will find you irresistible. How do you do that? You need compelling facts and arguments to back up your claim. You should have a theme and reinforce it repeatedly.

Take the reader down a path that leads them only to one conclusion: hiring you is the best option for them. You should also consider the readers' perspective. Take into account their counterarguments and deal with them honestly. This is what makes you trustworthy.

3#Put Your Personality Into It

A lot of business proposals lack character and individuality, as if they are written by some robot programmed to be flat, boring, and unoffensive. Don't be afraid to show who you are; let your personality shine through.

Sure, you need to follow some business conventions, but don't forget to show the reader who you really are as well. Let them know you are passionate about their business and yours.

Screenshot 2022-08-28 at 19.03.30

4#Use Graphics Wisely

Don't overstuff a perfectly good proposal with graphics. Yes, graphics are essential; they can clarify an idea, liven up a proposal, and allow the reader to focus on something other than text. That's smart. Just don't go overboard. The graphics should reinforce the sale rather than detract from it.

Read More: How can Proposal Management Software help you drive Sales Success?

5#Avoid Overselling

Don't exaggerate. The moment you cross the line between understandable pride and obnoxious overstatement, you lose credibility. Once readers think you're not being honest with them, they may begin to doubt your entire proposal and what's to come.

Keeping your statements on the safe side of overstatement will help you avoid this unenviable fate.

6#Avoid Boilerplate Language and Catch Typos

Recycling boilerplate data and text in your proposal is another surefire way to lose readers. It's fine to use persuasive information from elsewhere, but do it moderately and without making it obvious. The proposal should appear as if it were custom-made for this particular client.

While you're personalizing the proposal, triple-check for typos to make sure the text is free of errors. Why would the prospective client trust you with their project if it's obvious that you didn't give the proposal your best effort?

7#Always Keep the Evaluator in Mind

Remember that a proposal is a sales tool, and Sales and Marketing 101 states: Benefits, not features. As a final note, talk about price after you have grabbed your reader's attention with your crisp writing, powerful arguments, supporting graphics, and all the benefits you have to offer. When that’s done, you can go in for the sale.

The Anatomy of a Winning Proposal

If you’re not strategic when responding to RFPs, you’ll write a losing proposal.

But if you do follow the client’s format and structure, answer specific questions, match evaluation criteria, give details to help the client understand your value and benefits, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and keep the evaluator’s attention – all at the same time – then it's likely you'll get the longest straw.

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Tore Medhaug

Tore Medhaug

Tore holds a Technical degree and has a variety of business courses from BI Norwegian Business School. He has previously worked for different oil service companies and IT companies. Tore used to be Norway's biggest self-proclaimed golf talent, and also has a big passion for Ice hockey.

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