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Doing proposals the wrong way

For when surviving the proposal is more important than winning

The problem with best practices is the worst care scenario.  When the best practices don't apply or can't be used, they leave fail people by leaving them hanging. Don't worry. We're here to help.

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Dealing with adversity

When you can't do proposals the right way, sometimes you have to do proposals The Wrong Way™. It's one of our favorite subjects to write about, because it's so diabolical and fun to do the opposite of what the best practices say you should do. But we have to give you fair warning: doing proposals The Wrong Way™ can ensure that you lose. Doing proposals The Wrong Way™ is for when surviving the proposal has a higher priority than winning.

How often do The Powers That Be come into your office and say “We’ve been looking at this RFP and have decided to submit a proposal.”   You look into it and realize that you’ve lost 10 days off of a 30-day schedule, there was no client marketing before the RFP came out, no one knows who the potential competitors are, the customer doesn’t even know your name, and you know you have almost no chance of winning.  However, The Powers That Be say you must bid, so you have no choice but to do the proposal The Wrong Way™.

Doing proposals The Wrong Way™ is sometimes necessary when you have weaknesses you can't fix, so you turn them into strengths instead. But more often, proposal writers have to figure out how to write about a subject they know nothing about. Sometimes you have to do it that way because you have adverse circumstances, like bad past performance to overcome.

Even a good proposal where the best practices mostly apply can have rough edges and insurmountable challenges to overcome. Doing proposals The Wrong Way gives you techniques for overcoming obstacles, coping, or even cheating when the best practices fail you. Just beware the dark side of the force. It is extremely powerful, but also tempting. And it can destroy your soul. 

But it can also save a proposal, because knowing how to do proposals The Wrong Way can also help you improve their quality.


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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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