I've written more than 1000 proposals since I graduated in 2004. Here's what I learned.
It starts with Mindset
You may get excited when a prospect asks for a proposal.
The opposite is also true. And you are not the only one submitting.
The first thing is always to verify the need.
You will get a brief, explaining what they want and need. Schedule a meeting. Ask tough questions.
1. How do I win this?
2. If you don't do this, how much will it cost your business?
3. How does this fit into their bigger picture.
If you don't get the right answer, don't do it.
Never waste your time to be part of a procurement process. Because they may have a winner, they only need more participants. Time writing a proposal is time best spent elsewhere.
You might be tempted to write a very long and detailed proposal. Don't.
No one read it. You waste time. Everyone else doing the same.
Make a dense version all the time.
Executive Summary. Ideally, keep it one paragraph. Two at most. Explain what problem are you solving and why you have the best solution. Share the expected outcome. No one skips this part.
Introduction. Start with who you are. Your ethos. Why your brand exists. Explain the problem they are going through, what happens if they don't solve it now. What would the future be with your solution? What's the outcome if they choose you.
Team. Straightforward who you are, your background, certificate etc. Be verbose, but highlight key strengths.
Process. How will you deliver the solution unique to them? How are you doing it differently? They loved ones that they don't have to
Timeline. How long will this project take? What's the expected milestone? The shorter the better. Also, including potential risks.
Deliverables. It's the Features and Price.
Don't worry about being expensive. Worry about being cheap. Most projects I won are at the highest price.
Reference. Past project Portfolio Case studies. Include testimonials from the project owner. If you have tonnes, choose the ones relevant to their industry.1
Now that we've covered the structure. The real question here is,
"How to make it obvious that you are the best option?"
Simple (but not easy). Be the most relevant.
What's better than to write Proposal? By not writing them! Winning without Proposal.
Now that you've got my secrets, Go win those projects. Or bookmark this. And share it with your sales team and boss.