Sales Articles

How Software Can Help Writing a Business Proposal – Part II

by Christophe Primault
Published on 29 April 2011

This is the second part of an article series on how to use software to write business proposals. We're going to jump right back into the juicy stuff . 12 additional proposal writing tips to follow!

Tip 3: Set objectives collaboratively

If you are collaborating to establish objectives, make sure to reach a consensus, then make the initial objectives available for all involved to see, and then invite feedback from the start under a timeline. It is not uncommon for a group of busy managers with skilled specialties other than business writing to quickly designate one manager, with well cultivated writing skills, as the proposal writer for an upcoming Request For Proposal (RFP) without declaring overall goals. Then only after several drafts and a week's work later, does the group really figure out what they truly want. Save some time and eliminate frustration by fostering communication among the group to clearly define objectives, even if those objectives are refined later.

Tip 4: Research your audience

Do your preliminary research about the recipient of your proposal. Just as you need to gather information to write a research report. It is important to do some research on the organization and/or person receiving the proposal. Visit any corporate websites. Find out if the recipient has any preset standards to follow. Or, if there are any disqualifying factors such as a dislike for non-visual proposals or a requirement that all proposals be submitted contrary to typical proposal structure and encapsulated in a Power Point file according to a presentation style.

Tip 5: Understand values

One thing of great importance is to find out what the recipient values. If you cannot find out the specifics on what the recipient values, you can consider at least drawing some inferences based on what the individuals or entities would value within a certain industry.

Tip 6: Know your prospect

Writing a proposal can involve some other tasks not bound by writing. Building rapport with the recipient prior to sending a full-blown proposal can be an important step. This step could have more bearing on whether a proposal is well received than the actual composition of the proposal. People are often more likely to openly receive information and provide consideration from an individual whom they know. If your role is strictly confined to writing the proposal and not building relationships, then find and be able to cite, if applicable, anyone in your organization who has built some degree of rapport.

Tip 7: Use best of breed proposal software

Realize that a proposal requires both time and organization, and may need to be followed with additional proposals. Make writing the proposal easier, and take advantage of software dedicated to just proposal writing. We are not going to carve our proposal into a stone tablet and then deliver it. Likewise, as the market experiences advancements in business software or applications, we can readily optimize effectiveness and efficiency in relation to the proposal writing process. From the jump, you could use an online proposal software application such as Quote Roller . This software, for example, helps automate the proposal process, provides proposal templates, allows you to easily reuse written content and information, and even helps with delivery and tracking of the proposal.

Tip 8: Get the copy right

Connect with the reader; grab the recipient's attention. You could capture the reader's attention with a very brief dramatization of an intriguing event, problem or triumph, or by even sharing an interesting personal account. In addition, look to connect with the reader by reinforcing commonalities. This could be as simple as mentioning you belong to the same community organization.

Tip 9: Be persuasive

A proposal is an exercise in persuasive writing. You are not simply just asking for something. Nor should you expect acceptance of your proposed terms just because of the good virtues of your cause. Our first proposal to mom and dad should underline this.

In delivering your objective or any statement of need, consider what the recipient would want or need that you can provide or that would result in engaging the proposal. Rather than just stating we need funding to increase inventory. Your objective might be to obtain funding to increase inventory, and per each inventory bundle successfully sold, improve the recipient's revenue and profit stream for the the upcoming fiscal quarter.

Tip 10: Use a preliminary proposal

Don't overlook the use of gradual correspondence before delivering the main proposal, as suitable. You may want to just start out with a query letter, or send a letter with the purpose of just reacquainting with your prospect. Others consider use of a preliminary proposal before delivering a full-blown proposal, to garner feedback or better address objections in a more extensive proposal. Some major deals can be viewed like marriage proposals. They are more likely accepted after some dating and wooing.

Tip 11: Be ready to revise and resubmit your proposal:

Clearly there are situations where an entity is just not interested, but other times some moderate details of a proposal just need ironing out. Furthermore, even if a proposal has been denied, you often can prepare for another submission in a few months. If you are using a proposal writing software application like Quote Roller, you can breeze through your next iteration.

Tip 12: State your credentials

Show evidence that you can deliver on your end to support your credibility. This could be done by including a documented work sample or by providing work references.

Tip 13: Tailor your proposal

Some proposals need to be sent to several prospects. However, make certain that all information within the proposal is pertinent. For instance, don't use the Game and Fishery Convention example for a semi-conductor company planning on only attending the The Future Wafer convention.

Tip 14: Get the content right

Know and further study the general contents and order of a standard proposal. While there is some flexibility in structuring, a full proposal could include, in the following order: entity background information, a statement of the problem or need, goals, financial projections, funding request, task structure, management plan, staffing plan, and budget. Examine a few model proposals from books or online sources. Viewing quality proposals will help tremendously in identifying general proposal structure.

Now, let us propose that you have some fun with your next written proposal. Cheers-to the success of your next proposal.

Article by Mikita Mikado, Quote Roller, co-founder

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