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5 Ways to Ensure Your Proposals are Written From the Customer’s Perspective

Writing your proposal from the customer’s perspective is critically important. It can also be hard to do when you’re used to describing yourself when you write. Here are five simple things you should think about in every single sentence you write for a proposal:
  1. Make it all about what the customer will get, what the results will be, and how they will benefit. Even though they’ve asked you to describe this, state your compliance with that, and tell them how you are going to do things. What they really want to know is what they are going to get. All those other requirements are there so they can have confidence that you’ll actually be able to deliver. They really don’t want the requirements, they want the results. So instead of simply describing yourself and how you’ll comply with their requirements, talk about what they will get as a result of what you are offering, what the results will be of the requirements you are fulfilling, and how they will benefit from what you are going to do.
  2. Don’t start every sentence with “We,” “Our,” or your company name. People who talk only about themselves are annoying. Make it about the customer and not you. They are the ones making the decision, so the reasons they should select you are really all about them. The story you are telling in your proposal should not be your story. It should be the story about how much better off the customer will be if they select you. It’s their story, so tell it that way. Making the customer the object of each sentence instead of your own company is a simple way to force yourself to make your proposal about them.
  3. Talk about what matters. What’s important about what you’re offering? What matters about the requirements in the RFP? Nobody wants to focus on things that are routine. What about what they’ve asked for or what you're proposing should they care about? Make it pass the “So what?” test. Every time you state a fact or make a claim, ask yourself “So what?” If it doesn’t give a reason, re-write it until it passes the test.
  4. Think about what you want them to conclude. Once you’ve talked about what they are going to get and the things that matter, what does it all add up to? What should they walk away thinking? Make that the first thing you write and make everything else substantiate it. The conclusion should go first and not last.
  5. Think about what they need to do to evaluate the proposals and make a selection. What information do they need? What steps will they go through? What do they need to figure out? What forms do they need to complete? How will they conduct the scoring? Make it easy for them.

If every sentence reflects just one of these five, you will succeed in writing a proposal that is focused on the customer’s concerns instead of being a description of yourself. The more you can incorporate, the better the quality of your proposal will be. If every paragraph reflects all five, then you are on your way to turning your proposal writing into a competitive advantage.

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