Persuasive Proposal QuickSheet

Make your sales proposals more persuasive to raise win rates and crush sales goals.

The following 11 “Tips & Ideas” will help you at the moment of truth to win more contracts, especially the large ones.

For more help with persuasive or Technical proposals, contact me.

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Persuasive Proposal QuickSheetPersuasive Proposal QuickSheet
1. Biggest Failure in Sales ProposalsProposals are not marketing brochures, you’re not speaking to an anonymous audience of buyers — don’t fail there.

You are proposing to one unique customer in a specific situation at a specific time — analyze, design a solution, and write to that.

2. Persuade vs. InformA proposal’s goal is to persuade customers to take action and award you the contract – to persuade.

If you only comply and submit tons of info, it informs but doesn’t persuade customers – a data dump that doesn’t win.

3. PersuasivenessSeek first to understand, then be understood”—Steven Covey, Author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

First, play back to customers in your proposal that you understand their situation/needs. Then they’re more likely to listen to your solution.

4. Emotionally Engaging NarrativeUse a 3 P model to create an emotionally engaging narrative:

  • Pot-of-Gold (customer’s über business goal)
  • Perils (if customer makes poor choice)
  • Proposal (your solution)
5. Pre-Proposal WorkBegin ahead of the curve to learn customers’ site-specific Pot-of-Gold and Perils.

Once the bid is out, a cone of silence falls and you won’t get the info you need to win.

Start your proposal early, write the Exec Sum and Cover Letter once you have the info.

6. Proposal Work Process
  1. Analyze the opportunity, decision makers, competition, etc.
  2. Develop a proposal narrative / theme
  3. Design a site-specific solution
  4. Write your narrative’s Pot-of-Gold, Perils, & solution
7. Selling to Multiple AgendasThere are likely other decision-makers you won’t meet, each with their own agendas.

Connect service issues to their broad business impacts to speak to these other agendas.

8. Proposal SizeContract size ($s) drives document size in page counts. For example:

  • 5-7 pages for $25k/yr. contracts or projects
  • 25-35 pages for $75k-$100k
  • 100+ pages for >$1M value
9. Match TerminologyIf customers call it a facility (not a building) you describe it as a facility.
10. Efficiency vs. EffectivenessVary your proposal effort to the size of the sale. For large dollar bids, it’s worth creating lots of customized content. For smaller bids use more stock content. Adjust for in-betweens.
11. To Bid or Not to BidConsider the long-term impacts, sometimes it’s better to submit a proposal that intentionally prices you out of a job you don’t want — rather than decline to bid and sour a relationship.
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