It’s no secret that proposals are a vital part of doing business. But too often, companies spend more time on the proposal than they should, and as a result, the proposal is rushed and full of errors. This can mean the difference between winning and losing a contract.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to write a clear, concise, and error-free proposal. This will show your prospective customer that you are professional and capable of completing the project successfully.
Tip #1: Get Your Facts Straight
Before you can write a proposal, you need to know all the project details. Having a conversation with your customer is an essential first step. Ensure you have all of your questions answered so your proposal can be accurate and precise about exactly what they want to be done.
However, don’t wait until you have all the facts before writing. Some information will be clarified as you write, and that’s OK. It’s better to have something on paper that can be changed than to have nothing on paper at all.
Tip #2: Organize Your Proposal
The best way to make sure your proposal is clear and easy to read is by using a standard organization format such as the following:
- Letter of Transmittal
- Table of Contents
- Abstract/Executive Summary
- Proposal Overview
- Scope of Work
- Client Requirements References
- Schedule and Milestones
- Budget and Payment Terms
- Consultant’s Experience and References
- Quality Control Plan
- Proposal Schedule(s) and Milestones
- References, Appendices, Glossary, Acronyms
As you organize your proposal like this, be sure to follow the standard business format. Make sure every section is in the same place, so it’s easy to find.
Tip #3: Add Graphics and Visuals
Visual aids such as graphs and charts can help break up large chunks of text and make your proposal easier to read. They also show that you spent time on the proposal, which may impress your customer. Be sure to include them as needed to reinforce what you’re saying.
Furthermore, you should include plenty of white space in your proposal. White space is like silence; it makes the proposal easier to read, rather than one long wall of text. This means you should avoid writing huge paragraphs and instead break up your text with graphics.
Tip #4: Proofread, Proofread, PROOFREAD!
In your eagerness to submit a proposal that will win you the contract, don’t rush through it. You might be tempted to skip over any typo or grammatical error because it’s just one more sentence, and you wrote it, so it must be correct, but this is a big mistake.
Not only can errors make you look unprofessional, but they can also change the meaning of what you’re trying to say. Remember that your goal is to convince your customer why your company is the best choice for them. If you don’t proofread carefully and instead submit a proposal full of errors, you won’t be able to do that.
Tip #5: Use an Outline for Your Proposal
As mentioned above, it’s crucial to organize your proposal so that the structure is clear for your customer. No matter what organizational method you choose or whether you use headings or subheadings, having a plan makes it easier to write your proposal.
Breaking up large chunks of text by using subheadings makes the entire document easier to read and understand, so it’s more likely your customer will choose you. Additionally, making sure your headings and subheadings are consistent throughout the document is a great way to make your proposal error-free.
Tip #6: Maximize Technology to Your Advantage
While there is a time and place for manually-prepared proposals, you could also use the available software solutions today to your advantage. For instance, you could use automation software for RFP responses, which will not only save you time and energy but can also boost your chances of getting the contract.
Another way to take advantage of technology is by using project management software to keep track of your steps and monitor the project’s progress. Not only does this make it easier for you, but it also makes it easier for your customer as well because they’ll know exactly what stage the project is in and how soon it will be completed.
Tip #7: Don’t Forget the Conclusion
Writing an effective proposal is a lot of work. By this point, you have already met with your client and researched their project, identified what they need done, outlined the steps you’ll take to complete it, and provided an overview of your qualifications. Now is when you show your customer why you’re the best choice for them.
The conclusion is where you can summarize what your company will do and why it’s beneficial to your customer. If you do this effectively, then by the end of the proposal, your customer will understand what’s in it for them and be more likely to choose you because of it.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first proposal or your fiftieth, the best way to make sure your bid is adequate and will win you the contract is to follow all these tips above. Doing these things will give you the best chance of creating a proposal that will get you the contract.