7 Steps for a winning business proposal
Do not leave the success of your business to chance. Follow these seven steps to writing winning proposals:
1. Study the requirements. Writing a winning proposal begins with a clear understanding of customer needs. Carefully read the RFP. As you read, ask yourself: What are the objectives of this company? What is my role in achieving these goals? Is the time, budget and scope of work reasonable? And if we assign the contract, my company has the time, expertise and resources to complete the project?
Then decide whether to continue. The preparation of this proposal, it will take much time and effort in research, analysis of customer needs and writing, and can decide to wait for a better opportunity.
Wakefield carefully examines each AD. “We do not send anyone a proposal which requires, as the research and writing of a proposal is a fairly expensive process,” admits Wakefield. “First, we decide whether we can design a good program for them. Then we are looking for projects that have potential for us strategically, contracts that provide a constant relationship and good networking opportunities”.
2. Understand the customer. “If you do not understand the customer’s problem, certainly can not propose a methodology that will solve the problem,” says Shervin Freed, co-author of writing winning business proposals (McGraw-Hill). “Many times a customer or potential customer will say,” This is what we seek “But when you start looking, you find that is not what they want at all.”.
The best way to understand what the customer really needs is to talk to them. Ask people in the organization of their policies is concerned, operation and management philosophy. Find out if you have made all previous attempts to achieve the objectives set out in PP and why these solutions do not work. Asked what they like and hate to deal with consultants like you and what criteria are used to evaluate your proposal.
You also need to obtain general information about the organization and industry, which raises questions such as :. How long has the company been in business? What are your key decision makers? What are your main products or services? How is this better or worse than its competitors society? What is the financial situation of the company?
In preparing its proposal, the company executives Wakefield questioned the quality of customer service and training departments and development as well as purchasing agent. “We have learned that the goal of our client was to achieve a higher level of customer service,” says Wakefield. “And I wanted to changing the management process.”
If you are not able to speak with employees of the organization, do secondary research. Visit the library or consult with colleagues who have worked for the same organization; worth it. This research can save you propose a tactic that has already been tried or is unacceptable to the customer for another reason. You can also discover some underlying problems that are not addressed in the PP and should be considered.
3. Develop a methodology. Once your client’s objectives are clearly identified, it is time to develop the steps, or the methodology necessary to achieve them. If you are struggling with it, use the suggestion brainstorming sessions Wakefield.
“My partner and I get together and discuss what kinds of things our customers need and in what order,” Wakefield said. “It will be different for each of our customers as they focus more on customer service or cost savings. Then we design an intervention that is specific to your organization.”
To ensure that its methodology is practical, the analysis of costs and benefits as well as the time and resources you need.
4. Evaluate the solution. You may have developed an effective methodology, but it is unacceptable to your customer, you will have to find an alternative solution. “You have to understand the orientation of the decision maker,” says Freed. “You should know exactly what your background is and how they look on this particular project. For example, if the person is oriented financially or oriented operations.” Then describe the benefits of your solution in a way that will to receive the most favorable assessment of the decision maker.
It is also necessary to evaluate its based on the criteria of the RFP solution. For example, if your proposal is being evaluated by the price and the end of time, a solution long, costly is unlikely to earn your business the contract.
5. outshine their competitors. Do not forget that the proposal is a sales document designed to convince the customer to engage your business instead of a competitor. So make sure that your proposal reinforces the strengths of your company and address all possible reservations, the client may have in hiring.
“If the competitor is a company that is much bigger than yours, so you have to show your strengths,” says Freed. “Perhaps you specialize in the field of customer or can focus intensely on solving your problem.”
To send your strengths, you should know how you stand against the competition. If you’re lucky, the client will disclose the names of their competitors, to describe what they like working with them and offer an opinion of their abilities of competition.
6. Write the proposal. Now that you have completed the first five stages, most of the work is done. All that remains is gathering information in a format proposal, so it will return to work completed in the previous steps.
If the RFP specifies the format of your proposal, follow exactly. If no format is specified, Freed recommends the following titles are used:
A. Current situation. Explain the background or the problem that prompted the organization to issue a contract notice. This section was compiled from the general information contained in the PP, and the research he did in step 2.
B. Goals. clearly explain the objectives of its proposal. You made those in step 2, on the basis of PD and their understanding of the organization and its problems.
C. Proposed methodology. Describe each of the recommended steps, developed in Step 3, to enable the organization to achieve its objectives.
D. The time and cost. carefully explain the time and cost requirements for each step of the methodology, based on calculations of step 3. This section should also indicate how you will bill the customer, and when payment is expected.
E. qualifications. fully describe why yours is the best company for the job. This information is based on its competitive advantages and the criteria for evaluating the proposal, which have developed in step 5.
Benefits F .. discuss the many benefits that the customer will receive through the implementation of its recommendations. This section is based on the advantages identified in step 4.
7. Apply the finishing touches. carefully review the proposal to ensure that it fully meets the requirements of the RFP. Make sure the information is organized logically and exact fulfillment of the concerns each decision maker. Finally, have someone you trust review the proposal to catch spelling and grammatical errors.
Many of the contracts are awarded solely on the quality of the proposal, so do not stop writing careless or negligent mistakes ruin a terrible proposal.
“For me, good writing is symptomatic of their core capabilities,” Freed said. “Poor handwriting and poor grammar asked me,” How can these people if they can not even speak intelligently? “