f you’re running a business and pursuing contracts, it doesn’t matter if you are a big or small a company. Creating effective proposals is part of the game and to set yourself apart, you’ll need to dig out some fresh ideas. You need to make your proposal management process keener, responsive and effective to get attention from selection committees. Now the question is, how to do it?
Track your previous proposals and take serious note of the feedback you got so you can tweak your next round of proposals and get the bid assistance you need. Did they say you didn’t have enough specifics about your experience and expertise? Then beef up this area the next time around. Did they think it was too long and that they just wanted bullets? Then just do an executive summary on the next one.
Tell your business story. Many proposals read by selection committees are dry, boring, affairs with simple data and information, or overpowering with the marketing language. Instead, create a little fun, inject some of your personality into it and tell a story. Every business has got a story behind it. There’s usually a sensitive balance between personality and professionalism. Some people naturally have this. If you can find it, it’ll serve as a powerful tool.
Do your close-ups. A short video of your team at work, a real-life sense of your company and what it can provide for the clients … these demonstrate how your company is different from the competition. Testimonials or quotes give direct information to the prospective client that you have succeeded before, and examples of how you overcame obstacles show your resilience, innovative spirit and client commitment. Use them.
Know your audience. If the review committee is made up of key people from finance, propose in a linear way with graphs and figures. If they are the subject matter experts, use their language and tools to make the information engaging and informative with trendy and visually-oriented material.
Be bold. In any way you can, grab their attention. Make bold statements or open with big, attention-getting images or calls to action. Just be sure you can back them up with performance.
Make sure you handle the clients’ brand well. If you could sort of “customize” your proposal to their brand image, essence and equity, you could stand out from the rest. Demonstrating that their brand is at the forefront of your mind will assure them that their interests are important to you.
It is all about standing out- by answering the requirements in a unique way that demonstrates not only your professional ability to complete the work, but does so in a way that is fresh, engaging and memorable.