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Proposal Writing Strategies

By DJ Nelson

There are two main reasons to write a business proposal. Either someone has invited you to submit a RFP (Request for Proposal); or you are trying to gain support or funding from your employer or another organization.

When drafting a proposal the most important thing to keep in mind is that the reader is looking for benefits; they want to know how your product, service, or idea adds value to their operation. Therefore your proposal must be well-written and it also must clearly indicate how you can fulfill a current need.

Here are a few tips to help you improve your proposal:

1. Make the proposal about your customer. A proposal is not the time to tell about your mission, your locations, or how long you have been in business. Instead you should state how these (or any other) aspects benefit your client.

2. Show and don't tell. Do not tell your prospect what you can do for them, but show them using clear examples. Avoid unsubstantiated hype like "best value", "low risk", and "cutting edge"; unless you are willing to prove it.

3. Be careful not to include irrelevant information. If you are making the proposal about the reader, and showing instead of telling, then you should have no problem with this.

4. If you are responding to a RFP, read the request more than once. You want to ensure that you completely grasp the requirements.

5. Show your creditability. Who have you worked with before? How did you help them and how does that relate to the company you are submitting this proposal to?

6. Watch your language. It is very important to make sure your proposal is politically correct. Additionally, you want to avoid jargon unless it is commonly known in the field you are targeting. Also, avoid writing in passive voice.

7. Include samples if it is appropriate. This is a great way to show that you are capable of handling the job.

8. Be specific. State your time frame for completing the project and your rates (if applicable). This will help eliminate differences in expectations.

9. Above all, if you are a poor writer, seek assistance. Proposal writing is time-consuming and it requires a certain amount of skill.

About The Author

DJ Nelson is a Corporate Writer and Marketing Specialist. She can help you write a business proposal that sells. Visit her website at


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