Heike Moeller November 24, 2021 Proposal
As you lay out your plan, try to keep in mind a couple of questions that your audience may not ask but will certainly be thinking: "What can we expect as a minimum outcome of your work?" and "What steps will you follow, and how will we know you (and we) are on target?"
Show and tell. Resist, even to the point of seeming obstreperous, all requests to "just mail it to us." Anything short of a face-to-face meeting will inevitably detract from your proposal. After all, your proposal is meant to sell more than your services; it also sells you.
If you are replying to an RFP (Request for Proposal) or applying for a specific grant, you need to follow any instructions specified in the RFP or grant application as precisely as possible. An RFP response typically requires combining government agency forms with topics you need to write from scratch - based on what the RFP asks you talk about.
Obstructions and distractions. It`s not unusual for differing opinions and disagreements-sometimes even confrontations-to surface during proposal presentations. Known or unknown to you may be someone in your audience who previously presented or sponsored a similar proposal that was rejected. There may be congenital naysayers who distrust innovation or change of any kind. There may be one or two persons who adopt a show-me! attitude and refuse to believe that an idea worth listening to could ever come from (pick one) an insider, outsider, field representative, corporate staff person, woman, man, engineer, marketing specialist, or...fill in the blank.
Express costs in terms of value rather than simply stating them as prices. That is, mention that a particular component or service may seem expensive, but you have included it because it is the most cost effective course to take and will save money in the long run. By raising the issue yourself, you indicate your expertise and professionalism while deflating potential resistance.
After you have thoroughly described what you want to do and how much it will cost, it`s time to tell the proposal readers all about you in the final section. What makes you or your organization qualified to take on this job? It is not enough to simply say "I can do it" or boast about how smart you are. Keep in mind that it is always best to provide evidence or testimonials from other parties than to do your own bragging. Do you have special Training, Certifications, or Education? Do you have an extensive Company History, a long list of Clients, or years of Experience in the field? Have you won Awards? Do you have Testimonials or Case Studies to offer to show how you have been successful in the past? Include any information that helps persuade the clients that you have the knowledge and professionalism to carry out your proposal promises.
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