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Friday, October 7 th , 2011 – 10:30 am Greater Washington Procurement Conference Mid Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Washington, DC 20002. How to Prepare Winning Competitive ProposalS , EVERYTIME. Excellent Team The Customer Knows Us RFP Compliant Response Responsible Vendor(s)

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how to prepare winning competitive proposals everytime
Friday, October 7th, 2011 – 10:30 am

Greater Washington Procurement Conference

Mid Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Washington, DC 20002

How to Prepare Winning CompetitiveProposalS, EVERYTIME
why aren t my company proposals winning more contracts

Excellent Team

The Customer Knows Us

RFP Compliant Response

Responsible Vendor(s)

Strong Solution Features

Excellent Past Performance

Why Aren’t My Company Proposals Winning More Contracts?

A WINNING Proposal - Necessary but Insufficient Conditions:


















This opportunity was ours to win; what happened?

major rfp writing drivers

Section C– The Work Requirements – Basis for Solution(s)

Section L – Format and Structure for Proposal Response Document (Volumes)

Section M– Basis for Award

Major rfp writing drivers

The drivers for writing are contained in the SOW, Section L and Section M

crafting proposals that win

Excellent Team – Why?

The Customer Knows Us – And do we know them?

RFP Compliant Response – Minimal to Level the Playing Field

Responsible Vendor(s) – As demonstrated by?

Strong “Solution” Features – What’s in it for the Customer?

Excellent Past Performance – Relevance

Crafting Proposals that Win

A WINNING Proposal – Meets all the Necessary Conditions and SELLS

A proposal is a technical document that SELLS, and sells Best Value throughout.


The Business of Horses and Racing

How are many horse races decided?


Horse – One nose; on the face and that’s the one that will cause a WIN in a tight race

Winning Proposal – Many noses, many places, and you never know which one will cause you to WIN

Winning Proposal Strategy – Put in your proposal as many noses as you can

And where do you start with your first nose?

Winning Horses versus Winning Proposals


A Proposal Nose (# 1) – The Cover, Your Initial Impression

Who is this person?

Reviewers are human: impatient; overloaded; want to make good but quick decisions and are short of time.


A Proposal Nose (#3) - Acronym List

Make the acronym definitions clear and easy to find and you’ll also make a friend of your proposal reviewer!

a proposal nose 4 professional covered cd
A Proposal Nose (#4) - Professional Covered CD

Sometimes asked for, never ignored.

a proposal nose 5 the letter of transmittal

1-2 pages (short)

Initial greeting (hello)

Conveys some highlights of proposal and interest

Whom to contact for questions

Amendment acknowledgement

Period offer is valid

Signed by top level person

A Proposal Nose (# 5) – The Letter of Transmittal

Say “hello” in a meaningful way that conveys valuable sell information.


a proposal nose 6 the executive summary

2-5 pages

Main theme

Benefits of proposal

Major sell themes

Always include

Follow flow of proposal

High impact for lasting impression

Replacement for introduction

When written?

A Proposal Nose (# 6) – The Executive Summary

Grabs the initial reader and convinces the final reader.

a proposal nose 7 first page lead in

Section executive summary

Major theme

Graphic and caption

Highlights of section

Can be multiple pages

A Proposal Nose (# 7) – “First Page” Lead-In

The second trick to writing a skimable proposal is to tell the reader all the selling points at the start versus the end.

a proposal nose 8 discriminators
A Proposal Nose (# 8) – Discriminators

What sets you apart such that no one else can say the same of themselves?

a proposal nose 9 main and major themes

One sentence



A Proposal Nose (# 9) – Main and Major Themes

Themes set the tone and expectation for writing that follows.

a proposal nose 10 features and benefits

Sprinkled throughout proposal

Feature – what you bring to the government

Benefit – value derived by the government

A Proposal Nose (# 10) – Features and Benefits

The features of a proposed solution are without meaning to the recipient unless the benefits are cleared stated.

a proposal nose 11 graphics and captions

Right brain – left brain integration

Text referenced

Text enhancement


Caption message

A Proposal Nose (# 11) – Graphics and Captions

A relevant picture, enhanced by a relevant caption, enables the busy reviewer to skim your proposal.

a proposal nose 12 a compliance matrix

All RFP requirements

Sections and title

Response location in proposal

Included with submission

Typically follows table of contents

Could be many pages – not usually

part of the page count

A Proposal Nose (# 12) – A Compliance Matrix

Before all else, be compliant!

a proposal nose 13 making it easier on the reviewer

Easy to find


Right Brain Stimulation

Left Brain Integration

Whole Brain Communication


A Proposal Nose (# 13) – Making it Easier on the Reviewer

Write to sell by writing to effectively communicate quickly and persuasively.

proposal nose 14 create reviewer excitement
Proposal Nose (#14) Create Reviewer Excitement
  • Get reader attention/stimulated
  • Be innovative
  • “We’ve done it before”; with examples
  • It will reduce/increase …. (metrics)
  • Show how solution/approach reflects industry leadership/commercial best practices
  • Focus on customers benefits (what’s in it for the customer)

Be bold and back it up with facts.

a proposal nose 15 less is almost always better
A Proposal Nose (# 15) – Less is Almost Always Better

A well written proposal uses less words, more action verbs, short paragraphs and is replete with “show” versus “tell”.


Century Planning Associates, Inc.