I spend a tremendous part of my time writing and/or proofing proposals, as well as building new offerings with other strategic members of my company.  A proposal is one of the best and most comprehensive ways of being able to articulate (when you’re not there to do it) the value you can bring, as well as the process you will use to do it in.

In my mind, a proposal is made up of a few key elements:

  • A summary of what your prospect or customer needs
  • A summary of your qualifications to perform the work
  • A summary of the work to be performed
  • Pricing / cost analysis
  • (Sometimes) a brief ROI
  • Assumptions
  • Statement of terms, or a reference to terms on file

These can range from a one page simple quote, to a complex, verbose document with sample timelines, requirements and appendices.

The better you know your customer or prospect’s culture and expectations, the better prepared you will be to win the deal.  Knowing what they want and need, and articulating and communicating it is the key.  Showing your value against what may be cheaper solutions.  Delivering what they asked for.

I read a great article on fedmarket.com that I thought I’d share with you.  I’ve included an excerpt, but I’d encourage you to go out and read the whole thing.

One or Two Pages May Do It

By Richard White

“Proposal writing is both an art and a science. The art part is the solution that the customer believes will solve their problem with minimal risk. Often several pages of creative solution content will swing a win. It doesn’t matter if the solution is information technology, management consulting, program support, or a product. They are looking for:

  • Risk aversion, risk aversion, and risk aversion; the three R’s of proposal writing
  • Feasibility and practicality of solution (their perceived solution, not yours)
  • Speed of implementation
  • Speed of staffing
  • Uniqueness of staff
  • Proven capability to solve the problem
  • Nearness to customer
  • Special facility
  • Unique features and benefits
  • Unique management capabilities”

Until next time.