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This is a continuation of the previous podcasts on developing a strategy. In this podcast, I’m focusing on Messages and Questions you should ask yourself.

Messages

Your proposal response strategy should include key messages that gain support from reviewers, points in the evaluation, and win the proposal.

These messages are not the same as themes, although themes should also be delivering a message. While the theme is something you can reuse throughout the entire proposal response, a message is often a specific, important item that addresses the requirements. Messages are dealt with in specific sections or as answers to specific questions. Messages present or position your company’s offerings. They are also different from hot buttons, which are typically high profile items that have a big impact on the client. Read the rest of this entry »

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This is a continuation of the previous podcasts on developing a strategy. In this podcast, I’m focusing on Themes, Hot Buttons and what the Client really wants.

Developing a strategy for your response is one of the most important things you’ll do. Simply putting words on paper won’t get the attention you need to win proposals.

In this episode, I’m covering three of the things you need to do to develop a winning proposal strategy – Wants, Themes & Hot Buttons Read the rest of this entry »

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In my seminars and workshops, I always stress strategy as the most important element of a proposal. While there are many things that matter, a strategy can strengthen everything else. Instead of worrying about the weak link in your proposal, strengthen all the links.

Successfully responding to a proposal is about more than just writing material. A common error is to simply start writing based on the response requirements of the RFP. You need a real strategy to be successful, a strategy based on many factors, not just what is written in the RFP or based on informal discussions. Read the rest of this entry »

WWP#31 : What Makes A Losing Proposal? Part 2

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In this episode, which is part two of a 2 part series, I’m listing the last three of six key reasons your proposals may be losing.

These are things I’ve seen done by companies in proposals I’ve helped evaluate for buyers or common problems I see when I start to help a company improve their bids.

Why am I focusing on what loses proposals? It’s sometimes easier to see what you are doing wrong and fix them first before you start implementing other techniques. Read the rest of this entry »

WWP#30 : What Makes A Losing Proposal? Part 1

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In this episode, I’m listing the first three of six key reasons your proposals may be losing. The next episode will cover the second three reasons.

These are things I’ve seen companies do in proposals I’ve helped evaluate for buyers or common problems I see when I start to help a company improve their bids.

Why am I focusing on what loses proposals? It’s sometimes easier to see what you are doing wrong and fix them first before you start implementing other techniques.

Too often, we focus so much on what wins proposals that we seldom try to understand why we lose them. Lessons from losses will always have more impact on future success than lessons from winning, so always spend some time thinking about what didn’t work, and do it differently in the next proposal. Read the rest of this entry »

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In this episode, I’m covering some of the key skills required for a successful proposal. These aren’t all the skills needed and you don’t have to have them yourself, but they are the fundamental ones you must included in your team. Read the rest of this entry »

Proposal Tips on Video with Michel Theriault

When I delivered my proposal writing seminar at an industry conference recently, the association who organized the conference videotaped me delivering some tips. They will be distributing it to their members later this year.

I thought I’d try creating similar videos with a proposal writing tip in each one, in addition to my podcasts. Here are the first two.  Eventually, I’ll make a special page for videos. In the mean time, let me know what you think.

Video #1

Here is the first one, called “Don’t Write Backwards!”, a problem I see many companies do when they start writing their proposals.


YouTube Video: Don't write backwards!

Video # 2

The second one is titled “How Do You Look To Your Client?” and has nothing to do with your hair cut. It’s about the impression your writing can give your client and focuses on a key issue. Read the rest of this entry »

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In this episode, I’m listing 15 real-life mistakes others have made writing their RFP proposals. This comes from proposals that I’ve personally reviewed, either for a buyer or as part of my proposal support to bidders and are all traps you should avoid. Read the rest of this entry »

Visual Style : Your RFP Proposal Response

Do you submit nice looking proposals?

While it’s true, you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, it’s a pretty good starting point and it will have an overall impression on the evaluators. Perception, after all, is everything.

A professional bid response suggests professional services/products.

However, like your written submission, it should be client focused. In this context, I mean it has to match their expectations and culture. A poorly presented proposal stuck in a binder with a non-professional cover, poorly laid out text, hard to read fonts and headings, etc. will look unprofessional to almost everyone, but a slick, glossy production that is more sales than substance may turn off some evaluators. So, you need to strike the right balance. Read the rest of this entry »

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In this episode, I’m switching from a focus on the client to focusing on you, with critical questions you need to ask yourself while you write your proposal.

Very often, proposal writers are often so focused on the mechanics of responding to the proposal, assembling all the information, getting agreements and ensuring they’re compliant with the RFP, that they fail to ask the following key questions: Read the rest of this entry »