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Proposal Success or Failure



Writing a winning proposal is much more than simply filling out documents and putting them in front of a prospect.


There may be many reasons why your proposal did not make the final cut.

If you are new to creating proposals, try to look upon each proposal submission as a learning experience, and be prepared to adjust your strategy and presentation as needed along the way. After you’ve been informed that you didn’t get the job, you should attempt to politely interview the potential client or customer. If possible, speak directly to the person responsible for selecting the winner.

Explain that you want to understand why your proposal was not selected so that you can improve in the future. Thoughtfully consider what the person has to say and thank them for speaking to you. Keep in mind, however, that the person may not tell you the real reason behind the decision. Some people may be wary of sounding too critical, and of course there are always those instances where a friend or relative was selected for the job instead of using a true competitive process.

Although you can learn from failure, you should try your best to succeed with every proposal. Don’t let sloppy mistakes keep your proposal from rising to the top. A failure to land the job or get the grant is often due to the following common reasons:

1) Writing style: yours did not appeal to the reader.

To avoid a mismatch, do some research to find out about the style of the person and/or organization you are targeting. For example, if you are creating a proposal for a financial institution where all employees dress in formal business attire, it would not be a good idea to write your proposal in a folksy, casual style.


2) Incorrect target: your proposal was not sent to the right person.

Take the time to call the organization and find out the correct individual to address your proposal to. Make sure you spell that person’s name correctly and get his or her title correct, too.


3) Bad timing: your pitch was not made at the right moment.

Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to send a proposal ‘out of the blue.’ The best proposals, of course, are those that are solicited through RFPs, but if that’s not the case for you, then try to link your pitch to something concrete like a recent event or news article so it will seem relevant.


4) Slipshod writing: your spelling or grammar was incorrect.

If your proposal doesn’t look or sound professional, why would the prospect think that your work would be any better? If spelling and grammar are not your strengths, then hire someone to perfect your proposal language before you send it.


5) You failed to address the prospect’s fears and objections.

Your prospective client wants to be confident that you will do what is right for his organization. Prove that you have listened to his concerns and have the solution for each of his problems.


Review the remaining 15 steps on the web. 


Post Author: Orion Mitchell

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