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24 examples of what your customer is looking for, and what to do about it

And 7 ways that impact how you respond to them

The best way to organize your proposal is around what the customer is looking for. But you have to do it in a very literal sense.

The customer is looking for something tangible. They are looking for something in black and white, spelled out, and written down.

Different customers look for different things. But if you can anticipate what your customer is looking for, you have a significant advantage. Here are some examples of what your customer might be looking for:

See also:
  1. Answers to questions
  2. Keywords that match the RFP
  3. Evidence that you followed instructions
  4. Strengths and weaknesses
  5. Reasons
  6. Solutions
  7. Product names, company names, or brands
  8. Alternatives or options
  9. Something that wasn’t in the RFP
  10. Whether they can trust you
  11. What they should do
  12. What to tell their boss
  13. How to complete their evaluation forms
  14. Insight
  15. Capabilities that could come in handy
  16. Things that differentiate you from your competitors
  17. Affordability and savings
  18. Feasibility
  19. Risk mitigation
  20. Reliability and quality
  21. The path of least resistance
  22. Short term or long term gain
  23. ROI
  24. A better future

If you understand what the customer is looking for, then the critical question becomes how will they find it? And what can you do to make that easier?

Making it easy for the customer to find what they are looking for impacts:

  • How you develop your outline
  • How you word your headings
  • How you design your layout to draw the reader’s eye
  • What you say, how you say it, and the order you say it in
  • What you emphasize
  • How you incorporate citations and references
  • What you leave in, what you take out, and the level of detail you go into

In other words, everything about your proposal.

Everything about our proposal should be driven by how to make sure the customer can easily find what they are looking for. It really is that simple.

Of course, the hard part is knowing what they are looking for. That is harder than writing the proposal. But instead of worrying about how your proposal should look, or what you should write, or even how to be persuasive, just focus on what they need to find and make it easy. Considering what the customer needs to see is a great place to start your proposal efforts. Once you understand what the customer is looking for, you can build your proposal around making it easy for them to find what they need to see.

If you are putting all your effort into the proposal, you might want to reconsider and put more effort into finding out what the customer is looking for. Research it, study it, and ponder it. When you can articulate it, you’ll know what should go into your proposal.

Let's discuss your challenges with preparing proposals and winning new business...

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.

Click here to learn how to engage Carl as a consultant.

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