When I review proposals, I look for details and information that both supports what the service provider says and demonstrates a track record of some sort.

It’s certainly easier to keep your proposal general, particularly if you’re using boilerplate material for your proposals. But the best proposals have details that get the reviewers attention.Why is detail often left out of proposals? Here are some of the most common reasons. Do you suffer from any of these?

Not enough time

Getting the details or customizing the proposal takes a little more time, and if you aren’t organized, and don’t start early enough, it simply won’t make it into the proposal.

Not enough resources

Like the time issue, if you are trying to write a proposal while you’re doing dozens of other things, including running your business, you’ll run out of steam and whatever you submit will be ‘good enough’ instead of a great winning proposal.

Proposal Writer doesn’t know

Often, when marketing and business development groups have staff writers, they are exactly that – writers. They either don’t have the detailed knowledge of the operational details or they don’t know where to find them. Be sure to train them, orient them and make sure they know where to get the information they need.

You don’t ask for it

Even if you don’t have the other problems, unless you ask the subject matter experts, field or operational staff what the details are for your RFP response – relative to each specific proposal – you won’t get it. Don’t just ask them open ended questions like “what details should we modify or include” Ask them specific questions like ‘give me a specific example for this service with this type of client where your service benefited a client and quantify it for me’

You didn’t know it mattered

This is actually the biggest problem. Unless you realize that the lack of details is losing proposals for you, you won’t change.  Just talking about how great you are, answering questions with the theory about the service or what you’ve done for someone else doesn’t give the proposal evaluator much to evaluate. It also doesn’t give them confidence that you understand their unique requirements or the details that really make the difference between success and failure.

In my book, “Win More Business – Write Better Proposals“, I included direct quotes from buyers. Here’s what one said about details:

“Make your answers to-the-point, in very plain language and backed-up with details. Don’t fill them with useless information and fluff”

Here’s another one that shows what happens when you hide the meat in the buns:

“Fluff just gets glossed over. If important, meaty information is hidden in the fluff and is missed, too bad.”

So, instead of giving your clients a light, airy bun, don’t forget to include the beef, as long as you make it visible – it’s the meat of your proposal that will win more business when you write your RFP response proposals.


Our Book "Win More Business - Write Better Proposals". is now available at Amazon in many countries, including the USA , Canada, UK, Japan, Germany and France. You can also order it directly from the author on this website

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