Business development is highly competitive. As such, it’s imperative that you are selling your brand at every opportunity – email, website, social media, direct mail, print and digital advertising…and, of course, your proposals.

If you’re a plumber, you may not think the look of your proposal matters if the content is accurate, and your price is fair.  Wrong.  How your proposal looks and how the information is presented can influence the decision makers just as easily as the price.

To ensure that you are maximizing every opportunity to sell your brand, Electrum Branding has prepared the following proposal tips.

Follow Instructions
If you are responding to an RFP (Request for Proposal) be sure you provide the proposal before the deadline, with copies provided exactly as requested with the information presented in the order it was requested.  If you can’t follow these instructions, how can you be expected to retrofit the plumbing in an 19th century monastery?

Keep Up Appearances
Presenting a carefully formatted proposal shows that you took the decision-makers’ monumental task of reviewing scores of proposals into consideration.  By adding photos when appropriate and formatting the text with bulleted lists and bold headings, you can make consuming information much easier while ensuring the most important information isn’t missed.

Own the Goal
Make their goal the centerpiece of your proposal by including how you will help achieve it in every section of your proposal. Prove that you want to be their partner, not just a vendor.

Do Your Homework
Do a deep dive into the prospect’s recent history as well as the current environment of their industry.  Including this summary in your proposal shows you have an idea of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Don’t Take Our Word for It
Visit our website for a few customer testimonials…said no one EVER!  Place a few testimonials that reference the services you are selling throughout your proposal.  If you are pitching your accounting services and you have a Fortune 500 client who raves about the accuracy and thoroughness of your bookkeeping, that should be prominently featured.

Recent Industry Distinctions
If you have been recognized as a leader in your industry, it probably wasn’t due your modesty so why start now?  Be sure to mention all recent industry awards, distinctions or milestones in your proposal.  Recent is the key word here.  Industry, too.  No one wants to see your perfect attendance certificate from Vacation Bible School 1975.

Provide samples of how you will report on your progress along with a reporting schedule.  This will illustrate what kind of data you provide and how important results are to you.

Sharing your work process and service standards shows that you have a work process and service standards.  Also, if you share a few of the same service standards….ding, ding, ding.  Points for you!

Personality and Culture
Your proposal may be for the prospective client, but it represents your business. Therefore, it should look like you and sound like you.  Showcase your corporate culture and feature the people on your team with whom they will be working.

It’s Not All About You
Your pride in your business may cause you to overshare, but don’t.  Keep the focus on the skills and services you possess to help them reach their goals. There’ll be plenty of time to learn more about your business after the contract is signed.

You can only go down once the negotiations begin, so start at the high end of your range.  However, be careful here.  No one wants to hear, let me see if I can get back to you with a better price.

An Objective Eye
Is your proposal jargon free?  Is it easy to understand?  Do yourself a favor and have a trusted peer outside your industry review your proposal to ensure your content is clear and positions your brand favorably.

Are your proposals winning business or getting lost in the shuffle?  Contact the brand strategists at Electrum for an easy to update proposal template that positions your brand as a qualified contender for business opportunities.