The Early Bird Catches the Worm

What’s one of the greatest advantages you can give your enterprise when competing for a highly sought-after new client or customer, or a key piece of new business? It’s simple. And anyone can do it. It’s starting your pre-pursuit or pre-proposal research earlier – way earlier – than any of the competition is likely to. […]

Ignore Your Competition At Your Peril

One of the most foolhardy attitudes I’ve heard expressed by teams preparing for an important bid, or to make any form of a run for a deeply desired new piece of business, is: “We really don’t want to focus on and get distracted by what our competitors are doing. We need to just concentrate on […]

Small Fish, Big Pond . . . or Big Fish, Small Pond? Which Is Smarter?

If your Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) is experiencing high rates of failure – or a general low “win rate” – with your sales proposals and other new-business initiatives, you need to consider that the root cause may be more than just the quality of your proposal or the specific offer to the target. It […]

Don’t Be Presumptuous in Your Proposals

Golden Rule of sales proposals: Never insult your prospect’s intelligence. One of the best ways to do just that? Assume they don’t know the psychological game you’re playing when you go for the over-presumptive close . . . which then becomes the presumptuous close. We all know the classic example of the presumptive close: “So […]

Are Your Proposals A Patchwork Quilt of Writing Styles?

If your production is on the larger side – perhaps a response to an Expression of Interest (EOI) or a Request for Proposal (RFP) – you might find yourself apportioning out the various sections of the submission to different contributors from within your enterprise. These different writers will have differing writing styles. Sometimes very different. […]

A Primer on Proposal Strategy

If you’ve been reading my (Jordan’s) other posts on this blog, you’ll see the continually repeated theme of the importance of research, planning and proper preparation in the production of any proposal or submission. In my corporate work, I refer to the guiding document, the blueprint that informs your approach, your themes, and your offer, […]

Complement Your Off-line Proposal with Your Online Presence

If you’re a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME), it’s critically important that both your proposal (and other off-line documentation) is not let down by your online presence (primarily your website). Here are just some of the reasons why . . . especially if you’re up against larger competitors, with larger budgets, and more glamorous on- […]

Graphics in Proposals: Some Do’s and Don’ts

The use of graphics, photography and other design elements in a proposal represents a common dilemma for many an enterprise, particularly an SME without dedicated production skill in-house. As an over-arching rule, adhere to these general principles: While it’s appropriate to employ significant use of creative design and graphics / photography in some proposals (especially […]

The ‘Look’ of Readability

Question: When it comes to readability, how much emphasis should you place on the “look” of your copy? Answer: A LOT. The impact of many a proposal with otherwise decent quality (even compelling) copy is undermined by the presentation of that text and the pages on which it is laid out. Examples: Overly lengthy paragraphs […]

3 Key Principles of Effective Proposal Design

You’re wandering around a book shop and see an interesting title. You pick up the book. You page through it. Then you find the title is the only interesting thing about it. There is too much text with nothing to break it up. The layout is confusing and hard to follow. It’s jam-packed full of […]