4 Ways to Improve your Proposal Writing Style

Author : Steve Polen
Published: May 22, 2012

Some consultants seem to write great proposals very naturally while some seem to struggle. Proofreading proposals of junior consultants, I have noticed that it's some quite basic elements make all the difference. While the core offering of the proposal may be the same, some simple tweaking in the writing style will clearly separate failing vs winning proposals.

Here are 4 things that will improve drastically your consulting proposal writing style:

1.Present the benefits clearly

It is important to comprehend the distinction between an advantage and an attribute. Attributes are the actual product features specific to a good or idea. Advantages are the benefits the client will obtain—demonstrating identifiable usefulness to a product’s attributes by showing why those attributes of your good or idea deserve to be chosen.

2.Foresee and address your client’s worries

How well do you understand the prospect’s pain and need? Show you understand what keeps your prospect up at night. Show you have listened.

3.Make it a clear call to action

Encouraging your client to act sooner rather than later is an important part of securing the sale. Don’t try to manipulate your client, but do try to incentivize them to act by a certain time by displaying that it could be to their own benefit.

4.Eliminated the superfluous

Regardless of the type of project, depth of discussion, or purpose of the proposal, ensure that each word has its place. When you think you are done, reread your proposal and work on cutting a third out. The most powerful proposals are those that stay focused on the matter at hand. Don’t get into technicalities and details; it will distract your prospective client away from your core ideas.

To see more on improving one's proposal writing, read Dan Anderson's article for more information.

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Paul Botje
(June 28, 2012 08:11 am)

I have recently changed my template with some success:

- I briefly describe the client's issue
- Then quote the price to address the issue
- Then a description of what the client gets in terms of my work
- Lastly, when the client has absorbed the price and has been told about all the benefits, a call to action.

My conversion rate has gone up a little and I have some more work to do on proposal writing (I am relatively new to consulting), but if this helps others, great.


Fergal Bell
(June 22, 2012 04:15 am)

Your article has some great advice and I've rewritten my own template for tenders. I can imagine your guidelines have proven very effective in your own proposals.