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Developing a Proposal That Will Get Noticed

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 19, 2007

A crucial function of running your own business is developing proposals and pitches to increase relationships and close deals. To help facilitate the entire new business proposal process—whether you are a one-person shop or working in a team—here are some tips in developing a proposal that will help you win new business:

Show off your stuff. Include samples of past work that is relevant to the prospect.

Customize and personalize. Take advantage of new media tools by adding video or other multimedia features to your proposal. You might, for example, consider using these features to introduce your team or give your prospect a virtual tour of your work.

Seize the opportunity. Sometimes companies haven’t thought of all the services they need when they put out the initial RFP (request for proposal). So if you offer other, related services that would seem to be beneficial to the project at hand, don’t hesitate to use this opportunity to promote them as well.

Close the deal. Include the contract and terms of the agreement as well as the instructions on how to set up an account with your business so that they can get started immediately if they so choose.

After you’ve sent the proposal, don’t forget to follow up! Never assume that if you send documents or a PowerPoint presentation that they’ve been received. Filters often block large files, so your best bet is to check with them to make sure they received everything.

James Tucker
Thunk, Inc.
San Francisco

Reader Comments

Pam Giordano

April 25, 2007 12:49 PM

Other ways to differentiate yourself in a proposal:
1. Be specific about your achievements. Include mini case studies that highlight how you have helped real customers, complete with metrics on the amount of income generated from your products, and money or time saved.
2. Include a tightly written executive summary and, if applicable, a technology summary.
3. Lose the boilerplate. Nobody reads it anyway.

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