Writing the Perfect Proposal

Recently, I rewrote a proposal for a small company with a unique green product. The original proposal had five problems:

  • It stressed what the company offered and ignored the problem potential customers were trying to solve.
  • It listed features of the product rather than benefits.
  • It neglected to point out where the product differed from others in the marketplace.
  • It overloaded the customer with attachments and links.
  • It assumed the customer would know what to do next.

Ineffective proposals arise for very good reasons: most often the writers are so close to the product (or service) and so enthusiastic that they no longer see it through the customers’ eyes. Moreover, they are so sure the customer will agree with their enthusiasm that they pack the proposal with every bit of information available; and then simply assume the customer will initiate a personal meeting or conversation.

Belief in your product or service and loyalty to your company and customers are excellent traits and should appear in any proposal. However, you yourself wouldn’t make a purchase based solely on a sales person’s enthusiasms; neither will your customers. The perfect proposal:

  • Identifies the problem or mission of the customer.
  • Focuses on benefits to the customer.
  • Differentiates the product or service to ease the customer’s process of choosing.
  • Delivers the message clearly and efficiently, keeping overall length (including attachments and links) to a minimum.
  • Gives clear contact information and a reason for the customer to contact you, preferably in person.

At TWP Marketing & Technical Communication, we have over 25 years of experience writing proposals, from letter proposals to books, that give customers the information they want in words that excite their interest. We can do the same for your proposals. Contact us today.