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.

4. Failure to respond to client needs

Not responding to client requirements as they’re stated in the RFP, or as they appear based on your own research of the underlying requirements, is a sure recipe for failure.

The client has asked for proposals specifically to address their needs. If you don’t describe how your solution, expertise and experience will address the client’s needs, you have not met the basic requirement for the proposal.

Here is an example of why a proposal by an otherwise well qualified company lost:

Simply put, The proposal failed to respond to the client’s needs because it was too inward-looking, focusing more on the attributes of the supplier’s company. It didn’t relate the supplier’s abilities to the client’s needs. Instead, it included a typical boilerplate solution and material that was not customized to the client’s specific situation. It was simply too generic.

The lesson is that If you don’t specifically address and discuss client needs, and how your solution dovetails into their requirements by mirroring back the client’s own language, expectations, terminology and problems you’re solving, somebody else will.

5. Hard to understand, evaluate

Many people write to impress rather than to communicate. They use long, complex sentences, and words that most of us have to look up in the dictionary. While this may work well in a thesis or scientific paper, it doesn’t work in the business world, and it certainly doesn’t work in proposals.

The only reason to write a proposal is to communicate your ideas and your solutions so the client can tie them back to their own requirements and choose you over somebody else.

Unless you make your ideas and solutions easy to see, evaluators will miss them. Evaluators have to review large amounts of text, remember what they read, and link that with a scoring system that helps them choose a supplier. If you make evaluators search for information, or skim over important information because the text is difficult to read, they won’t be able to find the information they need to score you properly.

6. Inconsistent response

Your proposal response will reflect on your organization. If you’re inconsistent in your answers or in how you represent your company, products, services or solutions, the client is likely to notice.

In particular, if your proposal has different sections written by various internal staff or subcontractors, and these sections are inconsistent in terminology, approach, look and feel, then the client will see that you’re not providing a single cohesive service, and question your ability to integrate and manage various resources.

In addition, if you provide information that conflicts with information in the proposal itself, or with other published information, such as your website or annual report, you risk having the client recognize the inconsistency and questioning your credibility.

The proposal is an opportunity for you to demonstrate how easy it will be to work with you. Even if you have different subcontractors, suppliers and service providers as part of your team, or if various individuals write your proposal, you need to consolidate and edit the material to maintain a consistent, unified look and feel.

So there are the second three things that help you lose proposals. Check out the previous podcast for the first three. By understanding what loses proposals, you are more likely to avoid these problems.


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

Share