Writing Business Bids and Proposals For Dummies

Book description

Develop a winning business proposal

Plan and use a repeatable proposal process

Use tools and templates to accelerate your proposals

Get the intel on bids and proposals

Congratulations! You have in your hands the collected knowledge and skills of the professional proposal writer – without having to be one! Inside, you'll find out how to unlock what these professionals know and apply it to your own business to improve the way you capture new customers and communicate with existing ones!


  • Develop a great proposal
  • Focus on the customer
  • Know your competition
  • Plan your approach
  • Use tools and templates
  • Write persuasively
  • Overcome misconceptions
  • Expand your skills
  • Avoid proposal killers

Table of contents

    1. Cover
    2. Introduction
      1. About This Book
      2. Foolish Assumptions
      3. Icons Used in This Book
      4. Beyond the Book
      5. Where to Go from Here
    3. Part 1: Understanding Proposal Development
      1. Chapter 1: Introducing Bids and Proposals
        1. Defining Bids and Proposals
        2. Preparing to Propose
        3. Becoming More Professional
      2. Chapter 2: Understanding Different Types of Proposals
        1. Responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP)
        2. Writing a Proactive Proposal
        3. Comparing Small and Large Proposals
        4. Understanding Procurement: The Differences Among Segments
    4. Part 2: Focusing on Your Customer
      1. Chapter 3: Building Customer Relationships
        1. Getting to Know Your Customers
        2. Handling Customer Engagement: Your Sales Process
        3. Managing Customer Relationships
      2. Chapter 4: Giving Your Customers What They Ask For (And More)
        1. Following Your Customers’ Instructions
        2. Complying with Your Customers’ Requirements
        3. Enhancing Compliance with Responsiveness
      3. Chapter 5: Sizing Up Your Competition
        1. Gathering Information About Your Competitors
        2. Unseating Incumbents
        3. Ghosting Your Competition
    5. Part 3: Planning Your Approach
      1. Chapter 6: Developing Your Proposal Process
        1. Understanding Where the Proposal Process Fits In
        2. Pre-Proposal Stage: To Bid or Not to Bid?
        3. Proposal Development Stage: Delivering on Your Proposal Strategy
        4. Post-Proposal Stage: Getting Ready for Another Round
      2. Chapter 7: Setting Yourself Apart From Your Competitors
        1. Presenting Features and Benefits
        2. Backing Up Your Claims with Proof
      3. Chapter 8: Keeping Your Proposal on Track
        1. Coming Up with a Schedule That Works
        2. Budgeting Your Funds and Resources
        3. Choosing Your Proposal Team
    6. Part 4: Creating Your Proposal
      1. Chapter 9: Developing Your Proposal
        1. Crafting the Executive Summary
        2. Writing a Transmittal Letter
        3. Describing the Customer’s Situation
        4. Answering Your Customer’s Questions
        5. Writing the Solution for a Proactive Proposal
        6. Establishing Value in the Pricing Section
        7. Building the Experience Section
        8. Closing with a Call to Action
      2. Chapter 10: Applying the Principles of Good Writing: Structuring Your Argument
        1. Outlining to Guide Your Writing
        2. Writing Clearly
        3. Writing Persuasively
        4. Using Headings to Guide the Reader through Your Proposal
      3. Chapter 11: Making Your Proposals Look Good
        1. Designing Eye-Catching, Accessible Documents
        2. Applying Basic Design Principles to Make Your Proposal Stand Out
        3. Using Graphics to Help Readers Understand Your Proposal
      4. Chapter 12: Getting Your Proposal Out the Door
        1. Getting Fresh Eyes On Your Proposal
        2. Readying Your Proposal for Delivery
        3. Responding to Electronic Submissions
        4. Giving an Oral Presentation
    7. Part 5: Taking Your Proposal to the Next Level
      1. Chapter 13: Using Tools and Templates to Accelerate Your Proposals
        1. Tooling Around with Proposals
        2. Creating Foolproof Processes and Outputs
      2. Chapter 14: Leading Proposal Teams Effectively
        1. Leading Long Before the Project Begins
        2. Guiding Your Team from Start to Finish
        3. Taking a Virtual Approach to Proposal Team Leadership
      3. Chapter 15: Making Each Proposal Better than the Last
        1. Improving with Every Opportunity
        2. Collecting Content for Reuse
        3. Getting and Staying in Proposal Shape
    8. Part 6: The Part of Tens
      1. Chapter 16: Ten Templates for Building Your Proposal
        1. Creating a Compliance Matrix
        2. Proving Your Past Performance
        3. Standardizing the Proposal Model
        4. Keeping Up with Your Costs
        5. Tracking Your Customer Contacts
        6. Scheduling Your Process Milestones
        7. Deciding Whether to Bid
        8. Checking Off Production Activities
        9. Checking the Checker
        10. Capturing and Sharing Lessons Learned
      2. Chapter 17: Ten Common Misconceptions about Bids and Proposals
        1. Engaging the Customer Early Isn’t Important
        2. An Executive Summary Only Summarizes Your Proposal
        3. Features and Benefits Are All the Same
        4. If You’re the Incumbent, You’ve Got Nothing to Worry About
        5. Always Use Business Speak and Buzz Phrases in Your Proposals
        6. Sales Is a Game of Numbers, So Bid on Everything
        7. You Can Skip the Reviews if You’re Short on Time
        8. Collecting Information about Your Competitors Is Unethical
        9. After You Decide to Bid, Stick to Your Decision to the End
        10. Debrief Sessions Help You Single Out Underperformers
    9. Appendix: Online Resources
    10. About the Authors
    11. Advertisement Page
    12. Connect with Dummies
    13. End User License Agreement

Product information

  • Title: Writing Business Bids and Proposals For Dummies
  • Author(s): Neil Cobb, Charlie Divine
  • Release date: August 2016
  • Publisher(s): For Dummies
  • ISBN: 9781119174325