The Penultimate Word

The Secret to a Successful Proposal

A request for a proposal (RFP) comes your way. You’re perfect for the job. You and your team spend weeks gathering information and answering questions. You submit the proposal just before the deadline, and what happens? A whole lotta nothin’.

When you respond to an RFP, do your proposals end with a sale?Ever wonder why the phone never rings after submitting a proposal? Perhaps it’s because the proposal spent too much time talking about you.

The secret to a successful proposal is to focus on the prospective customer and address his company’s needs. Yes, I know, the questions in an RFP are all about you and your company, but you need to dig deeper and answer what’s not asked. For example, the RFP asks, “How many years has your company been in business?” What it is really asking is, “Do you have the experience to handle the job and are you a stable company?” So, instead of simply responding “Eighteen years,” take it a step further and address the prospect’s concerns:

After 18 years in the widget business, Widgets R Us can provide what you want, when you want it. If we don’t have it in stock, we know where to get it. Our expertise ensures that your downtime is minimal. We wouldn’t have survived in this business if we didn’t know what we were doing and what our customers wanted.

So turn your proposal into a customer-centric sales tool. Show prospects that you care about them, and your phone will be ringing off the hook.

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