You need to write a proposal and you want to make sure it’s top notch, here’s an A- Z…
Have you given the client in the format that they have requested? Are you printing it when they want it digitally?
B – Don’t give a huge introduction about your company, they don’t care if you have been in business 20 years or 2 years. They want you to solve a problem.
C – Open with the clients problem and what they are trying to achieve. They can then read the rest of the proposal knowing you have understood their issue.
D – You don’t need to spell out your philosophies and mantras, the client will figure it out pretty quick.
E – Try not to toot your own horn too much. Do you think they will care about you saying: “We are proud to be the winners of the 1995 Best Proposal Writers.” remember it’s about the client, not about you.
F – How will they benefit by using your solution. Try to give numbers, everyone loves numbers.
G – Write the proposal as if a 12 year old is reading it. Newspapers do, so should you.
H – Give them solution to their problem, not a “We understand your needs” – Show them.
I – Don’t ramble.
J – Don’t make commitments you can’t keep. If you are crystal ball gazing by making certain predictions, what happens when it doesn’t work out.
K – Marketing speak is naff, avoid it if possible: “The ‘bottom-line’ is that we will create ‘thought leaders’ through our ‘immersive experience. ‘ We will create a ‘win/win situation’ and achieve an ‘organic’ ‘work/life balance’ by using ‘big data’. Once we have created a first draft of the ‘360 Campaign’ we will ‘circle back’ to finalise.” See what I mean?
L – Minimise the use of words like “Most” and “Best”. Give proof instead.
M – Is there enough white space on each page? It helps people read it, you need ‘visual breathing room’.
N – Don’t use ‘I’ or ‘We’, the proposal is about them, not you.
O – The last page is what they will read most – so include a summary and a price.
P – Does the proposal look consistent? No formatting errors?
Q – Only give the customer what they wanted, stay on task. Be focused. Your client has a specific problem, so give a specific answer.
R – Break it up with attractive titles and headings. It’s much easier to find information.
S – Include visuals such as charts, graphs or relevant pictures. But don’t go too crazy.
T – How many pages is the whole proposal? Are they more inclined to read 24 pages or 5 pages?
U – Don’t hide the price, that’s the first thing the client will look for. So make it easy for them to find.
V – Keep paragraphs short, it’s much easier to digest information.
W – If you are printing it, does the printing look ‘top notch’? If the text is blurred, it’s going to be hard to read.
Y – Include a real-life testimonial or two, that directly relates to the solution you’re offering.
Z – End with a strong call to action. Not a wimpy “If you need any further information, let us know.” What do you want them to do? Sign today, most likely.
BONUS – Above all else DON’T LIE! You will be caught out at some point, and you will never be trusted again. Full Stop.