Client said no? How to write a winning proposal [without turning yourself into a pretzel]
Way back in my engineering consulting days, I converted to the idea there’s a process for how to write a winning proposal.
When the firm I worked at invested in the ‘winning bids’ program, it was a yes from me in a Gold-Buzzer-from-Australia’s-got-talent kind of way. (I’m picturing sparkly gold stuff dropping from the ceiling as I write this).
If I sound like a true believer, I am, because to be honest, the whole course just made sense. And having worked with enough engineers on losing bids that were a list minute dash (literally) to submit on time, I figured there was only so much more I could lose and frankly, a whole lot more to gain, particularly if I wanted to avoid turning myself into a pretzel.
At the heart of the course were a couple of key concepts that shaped my thinking around business communication and the tender process generally; ideas that have stuck with me to this day.
Let me share.
Novel concepts like, you really should weigh up your chance of winning before investing thousands of dollars in something where there’s an eighty percent chance of losing.
Or what about this? Have a plan for the tender process, because a winning proposal doesn’t just happen on its own.
And my personal favourite: Communicate to the client like you understand and care about them – and aren’t afraid to show it (even if you’re a hard-nosed technical professional who thinks that kind of stuff isn’t your thing).
I could cover more of the finer points of the course, but for now let’s just stick with the basics of how to write a winning proposal.
Why? Because in the interest of making your efforts pay, it’s worth mastering these skills, regardless of the size of your business or your bids.
Fortunately, the steps are simple and doable, although not necessarily easy.
Remember if you’re in business, you’re in relationships