Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win More Customers, Clients, and Contracts

Book description

With over 40,000 copies sold, the first edition of Persuasive Business Proposals helped many readers construct dynamic, effective proposals. Now in paperback, this fully-revised second edition still gives readers simple, effective techniques for organizing, writing, and delivering proposals while updating the author's winning strategies for today's global business environment. By cutting through the confusion, and providing dozens of real-world examples, this updated version provides step-by-step instructions for crafting value-centered, recipient-specific proposal packages, with all-new discussions on: * How to increase business using new communication channels from e-mail and electronic submissions to PDF, HTML, and others * The Seven Worst Proposal Mistakes illustrated with real-world examples This is an essential book for anyone seeking to win contracts and sell projects.

Table of contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Preface
  3. Why You Need This Book
    1. The Challenges You Face
      1. Professionals and Writers
      2. Let’s Get Personal
    2. A Good Proposal Is Hard to Find
      1. So . . . What Is a Good Proposal?
      2. The Value of Your Proposals to Your Clients
      3. The Value of Your Proposals to You
  4. A Primer on Persuasion
    1. Why the Inuit Hunt Whales and Other Secrets of Customer Behavior
      1. The Myths of Decision Making
      2. How People Really Make Decisions
    2. The Structure of Persuasion
      1. Information
      2. Evaluation
      3. Persuasion
      4. Going Deeper Into Persuasion
    3. Developing a Client-Centered Message Every Time You Write
      1. Seven Questions to Keep You Client Focused
      2. Redefining the Customer’s Need
      3. Where to Put Your Client-Centered Insights
    4. Understanding the Customer: The Cicero Principle
      1. If you wish to persuade me . . .
      2. . . . you must . . .
      3. . . . think my thoughts . . .
      4. . . . feel my feelings . . .
      5. . . . speak my words
      6. Analyzing the Audience
      7. Adjusting for Personality Type
      8. Adjusting for Levels of Expertise
      9. The Decision Maker’s Role and Values
    5. Establishing Your Credibility
      1. Going Deeper Into the Issue of Credibility
      2. Creating Credibility with Details
  5. How to Manage the Process and Keep Your Sanity
    1. An Overview of the Proposal Development Process
      1. Laying a Solid Foundation
      2. Review the RFP Document or Opportunity
      3. Avoid Wasted Effort by Making Smart Pre-Proposal Decisions
      4. Can You Recover the Cost of Writing a Proposal?
      5. Create a Proposal Schedule
      6. Assemble the Team
      7. Hold an Effective Kick-Off Meeting
      8. Create the Draft Proposal
      9. Edit Your Draft
      10. Print and Publish Your Proposal
    2. Writing from the Right Brain: Getting Your Ideas Organized
      1. Cognitive Webbing
      2. How to Create a Cognitive Web
    3. Presenting a Winning Value Proposition
      1. When Value Matters the Most
      2. The Value Proposition
      3. Proving Your Value with Win Themes
      4. Final Thoughts on Value
    4. The Structure of the Letter Proposal
      1. A Few Tips on Writing Winning Letter Proposals
    5. The Structure of the Formal Proposal
      1. Protecting Your Proprietary Interests
      2. Writing the Business Case
      3. Recommending and Substantiating Your Solution
      4. Appendix
      5. Some Final Thoughts
    6. Writing Research Proposals and Proposals for Grants
      1. Preparing Your Research Proposal
    7. What to Do After You Submit
      1. Following Up with the Prospect
      2. After the Decision Has Been Made
      3. The In-House Assessment
    8. Writing in the Midst of a Storm How to Deal with Bad News and Negative Publicity
    9. Creating a Proposal Center of Excellence
      1. The Proposal Unit: Defining Its Mission
      2. Integrating the Proposal Center Into the Overall Organization
      3. People: Putting the Right Staff in Place
      4. Skills: Assessing and Training for Outstanding Performance
      5. Methods: Incorporating Best Practices
      6. Tools: The Right Resources and Facilities for Optimum Performance
      7. Surviving and Prospering
    10. Proposal Metrics: How to Measure Your Success
      1. Measuring Success—the First Steps
      2. Take a Three-Dimensional View
      3. Five Ways to Measure Business Results
      4. Measuring Technical Results
      5. Measuring Customer Satisfaction: The Process
      6. Implementing Metrics to Improve Your Proposal Processes
  6. Writing to Win
    1. Give the Reader a KISS!
    2. Word Choice: Six Traps to Avoid
      1. Trap 1: Using Jargon
      2. Trap 2: Dangling Your Participles and Other Embarrassments
      3. Trap 3: Creating Noun Clusters
      4. Trap 4: Using Knotty Words Incorrectly
      5. Trap 5: Converting Verbs Into Nouns
      6. Trap 6: Riding the Cliché Pony
    3. Sentence Structure: Maximizing Your Clarity
      1. Avoid Complicated Sentences
      2. Avoid Passive Voice
      3. Put the Important Stuff Up Front
      4. Apply Sant’s Law to Every Sentence
    4. Editing Your Proposal
      1. How Much Should You Edit?
      2. Editing: A Five-Step Process
      3. Measuring Readability
      4. Red Teaming Your Proposal
      5. A Proposal Writer’s Checklist
  7. Index

Product information

  • Title: Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win More Customers, Clients, and Contracts
  • Author(s): Tom Sant
  • Release date: December 2003
  • Publisher(s): AMACOM
  • ISBN: 9780814471531