5 Ways To Write Better Proposals

    April 5, 2004

1. Omit needless words.

This can’t be stressed enough. Excess words drag your proposals down. Don’t try to use multisylabic monsters to impress people – it doesn’t work.

Needless words may be the biggest threat to quality writing. Omit them.

2. Have a strong agreement. Proposals shouldn’t be exploratory. Come to an agreement with your client, then summarize it with a proposal.

Poor planning sinks proposals. Plan for snags. Anticipate objections. More than anything else, ensure you and the client agree on what needs to be done – and then the proposal becomes a formality.

3. Focus on results, not methodology.

Methodology is unimportant. Your client does not care how you achieve results; only that you achieve them. The center of your proposal should be how you are going to benefit the client. That’s why he will buy, so that’s what you sell to him.

4. Shorter is better.

Clients do not accept proposals because they enjoy reading gigantic tomes. The shorter and more concise your proposal is – while still summarizing your agreement and covering the necesary details – the better.

5. Numbers last.

Don’t tell your client a price, then explain why it’s reasonable. Do the opposite. Make them drool, then make them gasp. Your client should be commited to buying when he reads the price.

David Berube is a writer, software developer, and speaker.
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