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Ten Steps to a Power-Packed, Persuasive Proposal
By:Linda Elizabeth Alexander
Writing proposals is a skill no businessperson should be
without. Often clients will put out a request for proposal from
three or more companies at the same time. In order to get their
business, yours has to be the most convincing one -- the one
that demonstrates the most value for clients' dollars. Here are
ten steps to constructing compelling proposals that ensure your
1. As with any writing project, you first have to understand the
purpose of your proposal and the people reading it. Usually with
a proposal it is to get business, while they find the right
vendor to solve a problem.
2.Understand your readers. Learn all you can about their needs.
Ask lots of questions. The more needs of theirs that you
address, the better your chance of getting the sale.
3. Underpromise and over deliver. Do NOT overpromise just to
close the deal. For example, by pricing yourself too low, you
will lose profit. Offering an unrealistic deadline will put your
reputation at risk when you are unable to deliver on time.
4. Do your homework. Ask lots of questions during the course of
your research. Make sure to fully understand your client's
needs, and how your product will meet their needs. What are
their expectations? How will they use your product or service?
Also, learn their views on pricing and quality - are they
willing to pay a premium for quality, or would they rather get a
sloppy job for cheap? Also find out: * What problem are they
trying to solve? * What would their ideal solution be? * What is
the most important aspect of this project to them: price,
quality, timing? * Who is the final decision maker? Will you
have to deal with a large committee of decision makers? This
might pose problems for you if you receive conflicting feedback.
5. Ask clients for a wish list. Tell them you can't deliver
everything on their list of ideals, but you want to get as close
as you can. Next, ask them to prioritize the items in order of
importance. This way you will be able to realistically meet
6. Organize the proposal to persuade. Focus on making the sale.
Act as if everything is already in place and this is a contract
about to be signed.
7. With research in hand, begin writing the proposal. This step
should run fairly quickly now that you have done your homework.
8. Get to the point quickly - this doesn't have to be in the
first sentence, but make it close to the top. Be sure they get
your meaning quickly. If you don't do this correctly, your
proposal will wind up in the circular file before it is read.
9. Make sure to tell clients how your solution meets their
needs. As with any marketing piece, be sure do define for them
how THEY will benefit from your services. ("What's in it for
10. Add a sense of urgency. A proposal can sit on somebody's
desk for months before they decide to do anything with it. By
adding an expiration date on your offer, you will encourage them
to make a decision sooner.
Be sure to include a cover letter and cover page with longer
proposals. Adding a line for a signature at the end of the offer
easily turns the proposal into a contract. With these guidelines
in mind, you are sure to be a winner at any job you bid on.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linda Elizabeth Alexander is a business writer and marketing
consultant based in Longmont, Colorado, USA. Improve your
writing skills at work! Subscribe to her FREE ezine. Write to
the Point at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
Article Source: http://www.redsofts.com/articles/
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