proposal writing tips

The biggest mistakes businesses make when creating business proposals

July 3, 2013

Business proposals are an incredibly important part of doing business. As a result, great care must be taken to ensure that they are written in the best possible manner. A well written business proposal can help you win new business and grow your company. It is, therefore,important to avoid some of the common mistakes that proposal writers continuously make.

The most obvious error in writing a business proposal is not meeting the clients' requirements. As appealing as your proposal may be, if it does not communicate the information and/or services the client is looking for in a business relationship, it will be discarded. Proposal writers have to ensure the business proposal is tailor made to suit the client's request, and that any questions raised are answered accordingly. Any keywords the potential client emphasizes in their RFP (request for proposal) should be included in your business proposal. Reading through the proposal while checking through the keywords and requirements helps ensure you have included everything in the proposal. This helps avoid having your proposal thrown out without being given a second thought.

One frequently noted mistake among proposal writers is focusing too much on themselves instead of on the targeted client. It is not uncommon to see a proposal writer go on and on about his firm, about their solid reputation and their achievements. Most proposal writers often forget that the business client they are targeting has self interests that he is pursuing. While it is important to sell yourself to the customer, it is even more important to ensure that the target business feels that you care about providing them with the service they require. The prospective client wants to understand why doing business with your firm will be beneficial to them. It is in the business proposal that they expect to find this information. It is the proposal writer's duty to see to it that this information is available.

Another common mistake that businesses make when writing business proposals is the inclusion of information that may leave the client with more questions. This often results from the inclusion of irrelevant information in the proposal. Sometimes, however, this may result simply due to a failure by the writer to show the link between information provided in the proposal and the client's interests. Proposal writers often make the mistake of assuming that the reader of the proposal will connect the dots for themselves. This won't happen. It will result in the client being indifferent to your proposal if he perceives the proposal as pointless. It is regarded as good practice for the writer to go through the proposal himself and establish whether he would care about the proposal had it been submitted to him. If not then the target client probably will not care either.

Proposal writers are also known to sell themselves short by simply complying with client's requirements. Of course, this is important. However, it would be better if the writer showed the client that he could go that extra mile for them and better serve them than competitors. Simply complying to the clients requirements will not impress the business client as it is very likely that numerous similar proposals have been sent to them. In other words, simple compliance kills any competitive edge you and your firm may have over your competition. Providing further information or services in your proposals gives you the edge you need to beat the competition. It also gives the prospective client the impression that you are reliable which translates to an added advantage.

A business proposal does not take the conventional approach of a short story. Many proposal writers make the mistake of trying to build up the proposal like a short story keeping their point at the end of the proposal. This is the wrong approach. Saving the point of your proposal for last will make the reader quickly lose interest in your proposal as they do not want to read a suspense paper but rather about a prospective business partner. In a business proposal, the client first wants to see what you can do and if you can do what they require before getting into the details. As a result, your business proposal needs to be structured accordingly, starting with the potential benefits of working with you and then proceed to the details.

For information on how to create and manage amazing proposals using our cloud-based proposal management software, please call us at 888-972-7375.

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