Tips for writing proposals
Nov 23, 2011
Ploughing through proposals isn't the most exciting job in the world. Making your potential customer's life a little easier is bound to win you a few extra points - however stringent the assessment system.
- Writing the proposal is the last thing you do. Putting time into the planning process means you write faster, you write better and you write less.
- Work out what your customer’s underlying concerns are. And structure your answers around them.
- Start each section with a statement that incorporates one of your key messages. And links their issues and goals to your solutions, features and benefits.
- Customise without reinventing the wheel. Use standard pieces but tailor them to answer the concerns of this customer.
- Replace your terminology with the customer’s terminology.
- Use captions, titles, subtitles and pull quotes – anything that breaks up the page and draws the eye to your key messages.
- Use bulleted lists. They help to simplify the information and draw attention to important benefits.
- Make a human connection with the reader. Avoid outdated formalities and use “we/our” and “you/your”. Be businesslike yet personal.
- Be ruthless in getting rid of every unnecessary word or sentence.
- You’ve probably got several different people contributing to the proposal - make sure the tone and messaging work consistently across the whole document.