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6 of my favorite proposal phrases with examples of how to use them

Give your proposal a one-two punch.

These are some of my “go to” ways of expressing value, focusing on benefits, and differentiating during proposal writing. When I’ve decided what to write to achieve RFP compliance and am pondering how to take it further and win in writing, they often come to mind. 

Winning by giving the customer something more

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The following phrases work like formulas that combine things in ways that raise the bar and help make your proposal more persuasive and more competitive. They help you establish that your proposal is the customer’s best alternative. They can be used when discussing your offering. Or your qualifications. They can be used to introduce benefits or show differentiation. They enable you to take what you have to say and turn it into something more, something that can win.

  • In addition to... This phrase lets you meet the requirements and then take them further. It can be used with features that go beyond the specifications or to introduce the benefits that go along with the features. Examples: In addition to [doing what you asked for] we [do something more]. In addition to delivering on time, we make sure the parts are operating properly.
  • Not only... This phrase is great for introducing unexpected benefits. Examples: Not only does our approach [do what you asked for], but it also [surprising result or benefit]. Not only does our approach meet the schedule, but it also achieves much greater efficiency and lowers costs.
  • We also... This phrase is for when you want to win by doing more. This can be by adding another attribute, feature, benefit, or result. Example: We also double check to make sure that…
  • We combine... Use this phrase to communicate that the total is greater than the sum of the parts. By combining things you can turn them into something more. Examples: The way we combine our [attribute|approach|qualification|feature] with our approach to [attribute|approach|qualification|feature] results in [an even better result]. The way we combine our process documentation with our experience and lessons learned results in lower risk performance.
  • On top of… This phrase is another way to win by doing more than expected. It is often used in the conclusion after you’ve proven your point to raise the bar even further. Examples: On top of [all that] we [something that differentiates and makes your proposal superior]. On top of our ability to meet all of the specifications, our approach collects valuable metrics and measurements to improve efficiency and support making data-driven decisions.
  • As well as… This phrase is great for pointing out attributes the reader may not consider at first. Examples: Our [approach|offering] delivers [result of your solution] as well as [less obvious result]. Our proposed staffing delivers the required skillsets, as well as providing cross-training to increase flexibility, improve our ability to handle surge requirements, and lower risks.


Combinations of these phrases can be fun to pile on. They can be over the top in a good way, although I wouldn’t take them too far. Then again, maybe I would if it raises the competitive bar. Here are some examples of combinations:

  • Not only do we bring [attribute, qualification, or feature], we also [bring|have|will|are able to|etc.]
  • In addition to achieving [compliance], our approach will also [benefit beyond compliance]
  • Not only do we [do everything], but on top of that we [features of your differentiated approach]

Give your proposals a one-two punch

Don’t simply describe things in your proposal writing. Remember that “why” you are proposing what you are can be more important than “what” you are proposing. Then think about what matters regarding what you have to say. What impact could it have for the customer? Why should the customer care about it? Then use the phrases above to combine your simple statement about what you are proposing and turn what you are proposing into something that matters. Give the customer what they asked for (one), and then give them something more (two). That’s what the phrases above set you up to do. Every sentence in a proposal can have those two parts. It’s a one-two punch that can knock your competitors out.

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More information about "Carl Dickson"

Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing, with more than 30 year's experience. He's written multiple books and published over a thousand articles that have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

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