Proposal Development Tech

How To Write A Good Proposal: Proposal Writing Basics

Proposal Writing Basics

Whether or not it’s a enterprise, challenge, or a special sort of proposal, the objective is identical: to persuade the reader to make the selection you plan. Subsequently, your proposal needs to be persuasive. On this publish, I gained’t simply cowl tips on how to write a proposal. I’ll inform you learn how to write a superb proposal.

How To Write A Good Proposal

The very first thing you’ll want to remember that all communication, together with writing, is persuasion. The phrases you write can be delivered to your viewers. This may increasingly even be a possible shopper or teaming companion. The objective of those phrases is to affect that individual’s selections.

It’s that straightforward. Earlier than you begin writing the proposal, it is very important perceive a couple of issues concerning the reader:

  • He/she cares at the start about their very own wants.
  • He/she is going to need to spend as little time as attainable studying or taking a look at your proposal.

With this in thoughts, there are a couple of established guidelines of thumb when writing proposals:

  • Inform them, inform them, and inform them some extra
  • Proposals usually are not about you
  • Promote the profit.
  • Be extraordinarily particular
  • Hold it as temporary, however not briefer, than attainable.
  • Spoon feed the reader.
  • Concentrate on the motion.

Inform Them, Inform Them, and Inform Them Once more

There’s an previous saying that goes with proposal and presentation improvement.

  • Inform them what you’ll inform them.
  • Inform them.
  • Inform them what you informed them.

That is good recommendation. Consider it or not, repetition is sweet. Should you say one thing to somebody twenty occasions, they’ll complain you advised them twice. Should you say it as soon as, it’s possible they’ll overlook you stated it.

Proposals Are Not About You, They’re About Them

When writing proposals, individuals overlook the golden rule: do unto others as you’d have them do upon you. You in all probability hate individuals who solely speak about themselves. So, why would you be that individual? I perceive that you simply need to give the shopper a 10-page description of how superb you or your agency are.

However frankly, individuals lately don’t have the time or curiosity to learn ten pages about you. Write about them and the way they will profit out of your assets, expertise, and strategy. All through the method of scripting this proposal, hold reminding your self, “It’s not about me.”

Promote the Profit

“Promote the Profit” is a reasonably easy idea. Your phrases want to inform the reader how the selection you’re advocating will profit them. The reader wants to realize a transparent understanding of what she or he would achieve from making the alternatives you promote.

Typically, proposal writers fall into the lure of speaking about how nice their agency is and forgetting to determine the way it impacts or intersects with the reader. Readers are likely to hate this “fluff” and can almost definitely skim or skip it utterly.

A good way to ensure your writing “sells the profit” is to make use of the “So What? Check.”

The “So What?” Check

As I stated, the simplest measurement of profit promoting is the “so what?” check. Right here’s a video explaining the way it works.

After you write one thing, return and skim it pretending you’re the meant viewers. Image your self as that grumpy previous man who used to steal your baseball if it by accident landed in his yard.

After studying every paragraph, ask your self “so what?” Let’s apply this check to some examples?


Our agency has been in enterprise for 50 years.

So What Check Outcome: Fail


Utilizing the teachings discovered from 50 years of expertise designing high-rise buildings, we’ll guarantee your design is technically right, constructible, and cost-effective.

So What Check Outcome: Cross


We began with solely three individuals and now make use of over 100 staff.

So What Check End result: Fail


With 100 certified staff, we’ve the in-house assets to satisfy your present expectations and fulfill any altering wants.

So What Check Outcome: Cross

Let’s give some real-life examples of the check in motion. Listed here are two redacted write-ups discovered on the web sites of huge mechanical/electrical/plumbing design companies.

How do these examples examine towards the “so what” check?

Instance #1:

ABC Engineers is a number one consulting engineering agency offering technical management, expertise in design and high quality service throughout all market sectors worldwide. Along with our core mechanical and electrical design providers, we offer further consulting providers to raised serve our shoppers.

Instance #2:

Enterprise challenges typically have options in know-how, amenities, and processes. We perceive what drives your enterprise. Furthermore, we take a associate’s curiosity in your success. It’s our perception that companions give companions a aggressive edge. Our shoppers depend upon us to deliver an outsider’s perspective and analytical capability to assist them plan, part, and attain their objectives. Our means to engineer, assemble, and function amenities rounds out that goal.

For those who stated instance #2 passes the check and instance #1 fails the check, you’re proper.

Are you able to see the distinction between these two paragraphs? Are you able to see how one speaks to you and the opposite speaks at you.

Instance #1 just isn’t dangerous writing. It simply doesn’t “promote the profit.” Subsequently, it isn’t persuasive.

Be Extraordinarily Particular

Writing a proposal is like being on The Courting Recreation. You need to persuade the shopper that you simply’re the only option. You’ll be able to’t do that with obscure, weasel phrases. Let’s fake you’re on the courting recreation and the woman behind the wall asks:

“I’m some of the wanted women within the metropolis. The place ought to a man take me on our first date?”

Nicely, you might say:

“Your date ought to take you to a very nice restaurant after which perhaps out dancing.”

That’s an inexpensive reply, however you’ll be going house alone after the present. It’s higher to say:

“I take all my dates to Victor’s, a little-known Italian restaurant the place we will take pleasure in a romantic candlelit dinner. Because the waiters serve your meals, they’ll sing you lovely arias that may heat your soul.” “Then I’ll take you dancing on the most unique membership within the metropolis, Studio 56, the place we will chill out within the VIP lounge or dance the night time away.”

Truthfully, these solutions each recommend dinner and dancing. However which one is extra persuasive? You guessed it, the second as a result of it’s extraordinarily particular.

And that’s what it’s a must to do with proposal writing, be extraordinarily particular. Inform them precisely what you will do for them.

Hold it as Temporary, However Not Briefer, than Attainable

Many proposal writers are beneath the delusion that folks take pleasure in studying their long-winded proposals. They may write a flowery four-page cowl letter and anticipate a possible shopper to learn it.

Nevertheless, if I despatched them a four-page advertising letter about my advertising provide enterprise, most of them wouldn’t learn it. For this reason it is very important maintain it temporary, as a result of nobody needs to spend his or her time studying your drivel.

However, some proposal managers maintain it too temporary. Too temporary is whenever you don’t sufficiently cowl the advantages or tackle the viewers’s necessities.

Individuals don’t wish to learn content material that’s too lengthy, however they’re suspicious of content material that it too brief. It screams, “This agency isn’t the only option.”

The way to Hold it Temporary

Particularly with proposals, shoppers will typically ask for a considerable amount of info. So, how do you fulfill their expectations with out writing the subsequent Warfare and Peace?

Listed here are some instruments you need to use that will help you hold it temporary.

  • Bullet Lists
  • Graphs and Charts
  • Footage
  • Delete Unnecessary Phrases

Bullet Lists

Through the use of bullet lists, you’ll be able to typically take giant paragraphs and break them down in a extra readable style. Bullet lists are simpler for readers to soak up and it’s extra possible that they may take the time to learn a bullet listing. You possibly can typically convey the identical info however in bullet listing format. Moreover, necessary factors or summaries typically profit from using bullet lists.

Why use bullet lists?

• Simpler for reader to soak up.
• Conveys similar info with fewer phrases.
• Helps emphasize essential factors.

Charts and Graphs 

Many companies use charts and graphs to assist convey a sophisticated course of, idea, or technique that might in any other case take many phrases. It’s all the time good apply to make use of charts and graphs, as a lot as potential, to current advertising info.


Some say that a “image is value a thousand phrases.” And for probably the most half, that’s true. For those who can convey an concept or reveal a reality with an image, do it. Utilizing footage in the appropriate approach may give the reader a break and assist maintain their consideration. Simply be sure they’re related.

Delete Unnecessary Phrases

Re-read your writing and attempt to discover sentences that may be shortened by eradicating ineffective phrases. Concise writing doesn’t include pointless phrases.

Each phrase ought to be important to the sentence. Each phrase ought to earn its place on the web page.

For instance:

Resulting from the truth that our agency has designed twenty comparable buildings, we’re eminently extra certified to design your undertaking. (20 Phrases)

This sentence could be shortened to:

As a result of we designed twenty comparable buildings, we’re probably the most certified selection. (11 Phrases)

Spoonfeed the Reader

We stay in a world the place individuals need their info simply and shortly. Some proposal writers make the error of forcing a reader to determine issues out for themselves.

That’s not an amazing concept. You don’t need the reader to should decipher your message.

Writing proposals shouldn’t be like writing a novel. Proposals must be direct and lead the reader to an apparent conclusion. Be sure you immediately state the conclusion inside your content material. Make it straightforward for the reader to comply with your writing.

Use subheads, comply with codecs precisely as shoppers have laid out, and above all don’t “beat across the bush.” As well as, we’ve got the drawback of data.

We simply assume that everyone is aware of the great and dangerous issues about our agency. That’s a horrible assumption. Here’s a higher one to make use of. Assume the reader is aware of nothing.

When you don’t explicitly inform them, they don’t comprehend it. Don’t speak right down to the reader, however assume they’re ranging from a clean slate.

Concentrate on the Motion

There was a superb deal written about using lively voice in writing. I like to recommend that you simply write within the lively voice. Within the lively voice, the topic of the sentence is performing the motion. Sentences which are written within the passive voice learn weak and sound much less necessary.

Passive Voice:

The MEP methods have been designed by our agency.

Lively Voice:

Our agency designed the MEP techniques.

To make proposal content material learn robust, it is very important give attention to the motion. By specializing in the motion, we describe precisely what motion occurred. Let’s take a look at an instance:

Mark assisted Pamona County with inspection in the course of the $365M reconstruction on Pamona Bridge, in Audibon, NJ.

Whereas it’s true that Mark was performing the inspection providers for Pamona County, once you learn this sentence, Mark looks like a secondary participant in our story. However Mark is absolutely our hero. Right here is how this might learn if we concentrate on the motion:

Mark inspected the overall contractor’s work in the course of the $365M reconstruction of Pamona Bridge, in Audibon, NJ.

On this sentence, we study precisely what Mark was doing. Mark inspected the overall contractor’s work.

The sentence is now a lot stronger.

These are the fundamentals of find out how to write a great proposal.

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