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Stop saying things like these in your proposal that don't matter

So much of what companies claim really doesn't matter to the customer

If your company matters to the customer receiving your proposal, it’s because the results of what you offer matter to them. To win the proposal, what you propose must matter more than any other alternative available to them, and this can include doing nothing. None of the things you say in your proposal will make a difference if the customer doesn’t think what you’ve said matters to them.

We’ve all experienced this...

See also:
Customer Perspective

When a salesperson approaches you and says “I know all about you and know exactly what you want” does that fill you full of enthusiasm, or skepticism and dread? Do you roll your eyes? Do you find that salesperson credible? 

When a salesperson describes something in a way that matters to you, does that change your level of interest? Does it show how well they know you, without them actually having said that they know you? 

Don't write your proposals like a bad salesperson or a lame advertisement. Start writing proposals that help the customer make a decision that matters to them.

Who would you be most likely to purchase from? 

Mattering is what you must accomplish in writing a proposal. Stop claiming to know the customer. Stop claiming to have the best offering or to be the best company. Your claims do not matter. Instead, put all of your energy into being able to describe things in your proposal in ways that do matter to the customer. 

Example of why your corporate experience does not matter

Saying you have experience does not matter. How your experience produces a better approach or results is what matters. When you say that “Our experience has taught us…” or “Because of our experience we’ll be able to…” and complete the sentence with something insightful, what you have to say matters so much more than someone else saying “We bring X years of experience to ensuring your success.”  

Example of why your understanding of the customer does not matter

Saying that you understand the customer does not matter. But when you offer them something or do something that does matter to them more than any other alternative, they will not only conclude that you understand them well, they will also conclude that your understanding matters.

If you want the customer to believe that you understand them, offer them a better approach or better results. Show insight into how what you are offering relates to them and achieves their goals. You don’t even have to use the word “understanding” for the customer to conclude that you understand them far better than all the competitors who do claim understanding but offer something ordinary.

Example of why your offering does not matter

Saying that you'll deliver better results or fulfill all RFP requirements does not matter. Saying what results you'll deliver or why they are better is what matters. This is what will inform the customer’s selection between their alternatives. Claims that aren’t proven do not matter and do not impact the decision process. If anything, they get in the way and lower credibility. Your offering does not matter until you make it matter.

How to matter to the customer

See a pattern here?  It’s not the claim, it’s how the claim leads to benefits that are differentiated or that the customer can only get from you that matters. That’s the kind of information the customer needs to make their selection. 

If you want your experience, understanding, and offering to matter to the customer, then don’t claim how wonderful they are. Don’t describe them. Explain why they matter. It is surprising how many companies are comfortable describing themselves, but draw a blank on why they matter. Instead of starting with a description and then trying to make it matter, start by articulating things that matter and then write an explanation. It sounds simple, but it can massively improve your competitiveness.

Let's try looking at it from the customer’s perspective… 

Every bidder who gets considered at all will have experience and a credible offering. If they understand well enough to have a credible offering, they understand well enough. They have all described themselves well enough to be worthy of consideration. These companies are your only true competitors. 

You can try to be competitive by providing better descriptions. But this is like trying to win by being just a little better at a lot of things. If you want to be competitively dominant, you’ll go beyond describing. You’ll matter. You’ll go beyond the details and explain why the choices you made in your offering matter more than the alternatives. 

Instead of claiming to have more or “better” experience, you’ll show how your experience matters because of the way it translates into a better offering that’s more reliable, more responsive, quicker to implement, and achieves better results. A simple claim that your experience will make your offering more reliable, more responsive, quicker to implement, and achieve better results won’t cut it. You need to explain why that’s true and how it will happen.

If you really matter, you’ll be indispensable. And you’ll never even need to claim it. When the customer concludes you matter, they are willing to invest and make things happen. When you matter more than all of their other alternatives, you become the only option that truly matters. You’ll skip being “better” and go straight to being vital.
From the proposal evaluator’s perspective, nearly all the vendors focus on describing themselves. Some of those vendors describe things better than others do. But if the customer is lucky, they’ll get at least one vendor responding in a way that matches up with what they think matters. Vendors who do that deliver something far more than an offering that is just good enough and maybe a little better than the others. From the customer’s perspective, a vendor that delivers what matters to them is not just a vendor. They are an asset. You may think you’re that good, but if you don’t write a proposal that matters, then what the customer sees really doesn’t matter and you are not the asset you think you are capable of being. If you look at your company and what you do and can’t think of anything that matters to the customer to say, you might want to fix that.
The first step in mattering to the customer is to stop saying things that don’t matter. Quit claiming, Quit describing. Start explaining what matters about who you are and what you do. Start proving why who you are and explaining why what you do matters.

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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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