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Powerful Proposals

Book Description

How does a company constantly win more business than its rivals? A key factor is the ability to create proposals that outshine those from even the strongest competitors. Powerful Proposals helps businesses maximize the selling power of their proposals, with proven strategies for going beyond "this is what we do" documents in favor of customer-centered offers that highlight the tangible benefits your company offers. This powerful process offers tools and techniques that will let any firm: * assess their "winner or loser" proposal status and take proactive steps to become a winner * address the ""Big Four"" questions that a proposal must answer to be successful * create "A+" proposals in less time with less wasted effort via a simple, repeatable process * neutralize the issue of price when the firm is not the low-price provider Powerful Proposals takes readers step by step through designing executive summaries, writing themes, and generating the text. There is also valuable information on strategy, graphics, callouts, and other visual elements.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half title
  3. Title
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Introduction
  8. Chapter 1: The Power of the A+ Proposal
    1. The Proposal: The Make or Break Move
    2. How to Put the “Power” into Your Proposals
      1. Be Compliant: Powerful Proposals Give Customers What They Request
      2. Be Responsive: Powerful Proposals Address Customers’ Needs, Key Issues, Values, and Goals
    3. What Proposals Reveal About You
    4. Six Key Elements of High-Quality Proposals
      1. 1. Boilerplate
      2. 2. Customer Focus
      3. 3. Creative Page Design
      4. 4. Compelling Story
      5. 5. Executive Summary
      6. 6. Ease of Evaluation
    5. Evaluating Proposals: The Best and the Worst
    6. Challenges for Readers
  9. Chapter 2: A Simple Notion: A Proposal Must Sell, Not Just Tell
    1. The DNA of Proposals: How Organizations Buy Products and Services
      1. Purpose
      2. Audience
      3. Organization
      4. Reader Intent
    2. How Buying Decisions Are Made
      1. They Won’t Buy, Unless You Sell
      2. Powerful Proposals: Simple, Clear, and Precise
    3. Four Compelling Questions Every Proposal Must Answer
      1. Question 1: Why Us?
      2. Question 2: Why Not Them?
      3. Question 3: So What?
      4. Question 4: How So?
    4. Challenges for Readers
  10. Chapter 3: Getting Your Message Across: Technical Proposals for Every Reader
    1. The Competitive Advantage: Reader-Friendly Proposals That Sell
      1. Compete by Communicating
      2. Know Your Audience
      3. Overcome Differences
    2. Designing the Proposal
      1. Two Messages, One Proposal
      2. Double-Exposure Techniques
    3. Challenges for Readers
  11. Chapter 4: Selling the Benefits: Customer-Oriented Proposals
    1. Why Steak Without Sizzle Is Not Enough
    2. Customer-Oriented Proposals
    3. Who Are the Buyers?
    4. What Buyers Look For
      1. The “Me” Proposal
      2. Reading the Customer’s Mind: The “You” Proposal
    5. Five Essential Components of a Customer-Focused Proposal
      1. Uncover and Respond to the Customer’s Underlying Need
      2. Address All of the Requirements and Requests
      3. Mirror the RFP
      4. Emphasize Benefits, Especially Intangible Ones
      5. Develop an Effective Proposal Strategy
    6. Challenges for Readers
  12. Chapter 5: What It Takes to Win: Credibility, Acceptability, and Preference
    1. Establishing Credibility
      1. The Right Experience
      2. The Right Solution
      3. The Right Technology
      4. The Right Team
    2. Establishing Acceptability
      1. Negotiable Terms
      2. Competitive Price
      3. Conducive Political Environment
    3. Creating Preference
      1. The Right Relationships
      2. A Compelling Story
      3. Winning Behaviors
    4. Challenges for Readers
  13. Chapter 6: Winning Executive Summaries: Your Most Powerful Selling Tool
    1. The State of the Art: High-Tech Summaries
    2. A Powerful Executive Summary: Focus on the Benefits
    3. Preparing to Create an Executive Summary
      1. Develop Your Win Strategy
      2. Build a Compelling Story Line
      3. The GIFBP Matrix
    4. How to Design an Executive Summary with Impact
      1. Brochure Format: Your Best Sales Tool
      2. Issues-Driven Executive Summary
      3. Ad-Style Executive Summary
      4. Four-Page Executive Summary
      5. Product-Emulation Executive Summary
      6. Customer-Empathy Executive Summary
    5. Living Executive Summary: An Evolving Sales Tool
      1. The Five Steps
      2. Executive Summary Quality Check
    6. Challenges for Readers
  14. Chapter 7: Timing Is Everything: Positioning to Win
    1. How to Position Your Company to Be a Key Player
    2. Begin Early: Build Relationships, Develop Influence, and Win the Customer
    3. Creating a Companywide “Can-Do” Attitude
    4. Challenges for Readers
  15. Chapter 8: Proposal Management: The Art of Containing Chaos
    1. Front-Loading the Effort: Plan and Design
    2. Freezing the Offer
    3. Planning for and Conducting a Superior Kickoff Meeting
      1. Solidify the Team
      2. Lay the Foundation: Proposal Planning
      3. Establish Credibility: The Process
      4. A Failed Kickoff: Danger Ahead
    4. Revising for Quality: The Final Touches
    5. Challenges for Readers
  16. Chapter 9: Getting It Written, Getting It Right: Guide to Creating Compelling Proposals
    1. The Seven-Step Section Development Process
      1. Step 1: Determine the Content
      2. Step 2: Organize the Content
      3. Step 3: Develop the Themes
      4. Step 4. Develop the Visuals
      5. Step 5: Develop the Proofs
      6. Step 6: Create a Mock-Up
      7. Step 7: Draft the Section
    2. Challenges for Readers
  17. Chapter 10: The Review Process: Making Sure the Power Is in the Proposal
    1. The Role of Reviews in the Proposal Process
    2. Themes and Visuals: The Contributions of the Pink Team
      1. Pink Team Objectives
      2. Pink Team Process
      3. Applying the Pink Team Review to the Final Draft
    3. Does It Have What It Takes: The Red Team Review
      1. Who Is Needed: Selecting Team Members
      2. Red Team Objectives
      3. Red Team Process
    4. Long-Term Benefits
    5. Challenges for Readers
  18. Chapter 11: Learning Forward: Win or Lose Protocols for Continuous Improvement
    1. Administering the Protocols
      1. Client Interview
      2. Internal Review
      3. Lessons Learned
      4. Improvement/Implementation Plan
    2. Challenges for Readers
  19. Appendix A    The Ultimate Weapon: Maximize Proposal Effectiveness with Techies Who Can Sell
    1. Challenges for Readers
  20. Appendix B    Models of Issue-Driven and Ad-Style Executive Summaries
  21. Index
  22. About the Authors
  23. Copyright