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Apr 27 2013 12:06 PM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
After you do a few hundred proposal reviews, they can become like déjà vu. Here are 10 problems we see over and over:A lack of differentiators Poor strategic or competitive positioning Copy that isn’t written from the customer’s perspective, that f...
Apr 14 2013 12:24 PM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
Visual communication is critical for winning proposals. But how do you get breathtaking visuals without breaking the bank or taking forever? We just added a dozen top quality proposal graphics that you can download and fully customize. They are from Mi...
Mar 24 2013 10:37 AM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
Once you understand what proposal themes are and how they contribute to winning, then comes the hard part: articulating your message in the form of theme statements. When we review people’s proposals we see a lot of theme statements that are either:Gr...
Mar 03 2013 10:39 AM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
One of the most common questions we get is, "What should my proposal look like?" So when a company we’ve teamed with many times in the past started talking about producing some templates to help people format their proposals, we told them we ha...
Jan 13 2013 12:20 PM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
When most people think of a proposal re-use library, they think of pre-written proposal sections. We’ve invented a new kind that can have a far greater impact on your win rates. Instead of trying to capture all of your proposal text and recycle it, wh...
Dec 28 2012 11:09 PM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
Here's the problem with proposal re-use repositories. Imagine two customers who both want the same system, application, product, service, solution or whatever you offer. The specs are the same. However... One customer is decentralized, another is...
Dec 09 2012 09:51 AM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
Businesses that provide services often have capabilities statements instead of brochures. There isn't much difference between them. Capabilities statements tend to emphasize customer and project experience since these are the best indicators of a...
Nov 25 2012 09:26 AM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
One of the most important things to realize about proposal writing is that it is not about you, your company, or even your offering. It’s not about telling the customer anything. It’s about the customer, their decision, and what they need to hear to...
Nov 11 2012 11:26 AM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
When you are a contractor, sometimes deadlines are missed, budgets are exceeded, or specifications go unmet. Sometimes it’s because of an oversight, bad estimates, or mismanagement. And sometimes it’s because the customer was unclear or changed their...
Nov 01 2012 02:26 PM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
I’m sitting here working on a proposal and I just realized that the way I was first taught how to write an Executive Summary is backwards. When I first started writing proposals it was considered innovative to have a box or section titled “Why Us” at...
Oct 21 2012 11:16 AM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
Most proposal introduction paragraphs are wasted space. They are written like the writer needed to get warmed up while figuring out what to say. And yet when the customer looks at your proposal, wondering what’s in it for them, it’s the first thing t...
Sep 29 2012 10:30 AM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
Our normal advice for beginners about how to format their proposals is not to exceed their capabilities. An overly ambitious layout can slow you down, introduce errors, and distract you from perfecting your message. We generally recommend that your g...
Jun 24 2012 11:23 AM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
After you identify what things matter to your customer, you can start exploring how they matter to the customer. Then you can choose what to focus on in your proposal. That’s when you find that you have choices, and those choices are what become your b...
Jun 09 2012 02:22 PM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
Proposal themes are how you articulate why the customer should select you. They may be incorporated into headings, tag lines, text boxes, or just be the main point of a paragraph. You need to be able to articulate your themes so that you can build the...
May 13 2012 12:52 PM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
Your proposal should not be about you. It should not be descriptive. It should be about the customer and what matters to them. If you don't know what really matters to the customer, what their concerns, fears, interests, agenda, ambitions, goals...
Apr 22 2012 10:08 AM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
Some people talk a good game and can be very persuasive. But they write a lousy proposal because they think all they need to do is sit down at a keyboard and hook the customer. Winning in writing has nothing to do with talking a good game. While a co...
Dec 04 2011 08:25 PM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
People crave proposal templates because they need something more than a blank page to focus their thoughts on what to write. Unfortunately templates and recycled proposal narratives do more harm than good. And while the right process can help you prepa...
Nov 17 2011 03:55 PM | Carl Dickson in Proposal Cookbooks & Recipes
People often assume that because the topic of a proposal is similar to an earlier proposal, that earlier proposal can be easily recycled just by “changing a few words.” This is hardly ever true. We call pre-written ready to re-use proposal sections “bo...