7 steps to more persuasive proposals

7 Steps To More Persuasive Proposals

Does your RFP process have you feeling lost? We can help you avoid off-course missteps! Follow this path to creating well-written and persuasive proposals that will clinch a strong finish.

Customize, Customize, Customize

Delve into the RFP and talk to the client and/or your sales rep to find out what’s most important to your prospect, and clearly address those things wherever possible. Echo your prospect’s terminology and avoid jargon.

Speak Directly to Your Reader

In his book “Can I Change Your Mind?” Lindsay Camp calls you “the single most important word in persuasive writing.” Instead of using passive voice or pairing a company’s name with it or its, go ahead and say you or your.

Highlight Benefits

It’s easy to get caught up in packing a proposal full of features, but benefits provide the reasons why features matter. Focus on what your solutions do for your reader. As marketer Theodore Levitt said: “people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”

Note Differentiators

If others have the same features and benefits as you, what sets you apart? Tell your prospect why your solution is better by touting your uniqueness through positive language (rather than by saying negative things about your competitors).

Support Your Claims

APMP’s Neil Cobb and Charlie Divine emphasize the importance of providing verifiable evidence of your assertions in their book, “Writing Business Bids & Proposals for Dummies.” Use statistics, case studies, certifications and industry data to prove your case.

Leverage Your 10%

According to several studies, people tend to forget the vast majority of content they consume — up to 90% — pretty quickly. Carmen Simon, Ph. D., author of “Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions,” suggests asking yourself what 10% of your content you want people to remember most. Keeping that in mind, weave your most important message throughout your entire proposal.

Include Visuals

Charts, graphs and process flows can often communicate information more efficiently and effectively than text. They can also help highlight important points and make your proposals easier to read. Whenever you use graphics, be sure to label them.


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