To win a project and close a deal, you'll need to complete a proposal document. A proposal document is your opportunity to sell your business and organization to your potential clients. Here we'll help you to think about what you could include in your proposal document and some useful dos and don'ts to be aware of when you write it.

Dos when writing your proposal document

Do show that you know your strengths and can outline your ideas clearly.
 Do demonstrate your understanding of client issues.
 Do clearly outline your proposed solutions, benefits and outcomes.
 Do clearly demonstrate your competitive advantage, leverage on your capabilities and send client-focused messages.
Do develop themes and differentiators that will resonate with the client.
 Do follow Request for Proposal's requirements, instructions to bidders, proposal development requirements, evaluation criteria, pages limits among others.
 Do be enthusiastic – if you show your interest in the project, it may help you get a place.
Do expect to produce several drafts of your proposal document before being totally happy with it.
Do use your best English and don’t let spelling and grammatical errors spoil your proposal.
Do ask people you trust for their feedback.

Don’ts when writing your proposal document

⊗ Don’t lose focus on the client. Look at every paragraph and make sure that every feature, attribute, or piece of information you provide is put into the client’s context.
⊗ Don’t assume that the client knows the outcomes and impact of your solutions. Spell them out clearly.
⊗ Don’t focus on your qualification but on delivery
⊗ Don’t use best of breed, raising the bar, most unique organization, etc.
⊗ Don’t exaggerate – you you may get caught out at interview when asked to elaborate on an interesting achievement.
⊗ Don’t rely on a spellchecker as it will not pick up everything – proofread as many times as possible.
⊗ Don’t leave it to the last minute – your proposal will seem rushed and important information could be left out.

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