Most proposals do not start with the information people need to write a winning proposal. It can be… frustrating. A lot of effort goes into things that somehow don't translate into a better proposal. It’s really easy for companies to fall into the habit of submitting bids and hoping instead of doing what it will take to win. They show a lot of activity and say they are preparing for the RFP. But they somehow arrive at RFP release unprepared. They say they do a lot of stuff. But it's stuff that doesn’t matter.
- You had a meeting with the customer. I don't care. I care about what you discovered.
- Your customer loves you. I don’t care. I care about whether they’ll give you a top past performance score.
- You know what the customer wants. I don’t care. I care about whether the others influencing the evaluation agree.
- There's an RFP coming out. I don't care. I care about what we know about it that others don't.
- The RFP just came out. I don’t care. I care about whether we can get the highest score and how we’ll go about doing it.
- We have an opportunity to submit a proposal. I don't care. I care about what we know about what the customer wants to see in the proposal.
- You just got back from a trade show and have all these customer email addresses. I don't care. I care about what you learned about them.
- You've got the qualifications to bid. I don't care. So does everyone else who makes the competitive range. I care about what differentiates your bid.
- You’ve got “the right” experience. I don’t care. I care about how that translates into a better offering and a higher score.
- You have a story to tell. I don't care. I care about the story the customer wants to hear.
Now, let’s flip some of those around so we can be more positive.
- You learned about the customer's preferences. I care. A lot. I’m ready to write a proposal that reflects those preferences.
- You discovered something others don’t know about the customer or opportunity. I care. A lot. I’m ready to turn it into a better proposal.r
- You discovered what the customer needs to reach a decision. I care. A lot. I’m ready to build a proposal around it.
- You have experience that gives you enough insight to create a better offering. I care. A lot. I’m ready to write about a differentiated approach that’s credible.
- You know what the customer needs to see in the proposal. I care. A lot. I’m ready to write a proposal that matters, has meaning, and the customer cares about.
I care about the things that help me write a winning proposal. Bring me things that impact our ability to write a winning proposal and I care. A lot.
What you care about has a major impact on what you put into your proposal. If you need to win proposals to close sales, your organization needs to learn to care about the right things.
Quit giving credit for effort. Quit giving credit for “meeting with the customer” and start giving credit for whether they came back with an information advantage. Learn to care about the things you need to win. A good place to start is by identifying what it will take to win. If your organization can’t uniformly articulate what it will take to win, it’s not going to happen consistently.
Build an organization that doesn’t just check boxes and claim it's pursuing the win. Build an organization that knows what to care about.
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Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY.
The materials he has published have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is an expert at winning in writing. He is a prolific author, frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant.
Carl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.
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