Clients get a clear message on how serious and credentialled you are for the job your bidding through the care, attention and relevance of your submittal.
Here are seven pointers to lifting the quality of your proposal over and above your competitors.
1. Study the RFP
Make sure you have understood the work scope and address all the points within your bid submission. Use references throughout your proposal to clauses within the RFP (request for proposal) or RFQ (request for quotation). Use phrases such as “we understand that as per Clause 3.1 of the RFP, we need to comply with (client name’s) health and safety requirements.” Then show how you will do it.
Such references are a very effective way to bring to the client’s attention that you have indeed read and understood the project requirements. It will also help to make sure you have costed for everything and could save you problems further down the line.
If there are any caveats (limitations to your scope of work or aspects of the job you are not quoting for), make them clear, perhaps in a dedicated section.
2. Don’t make it look like a copy-paste exercise
This doesn’t mean you have to recreate everything. There will be elements you can draw from past proposals – your company profile or quality, health and safety processes for example. But you can still provide a personalised touch for each proposal.
Making references to the RFP (as above) is one aspect. Also, use the client and project name throughout. These are simple but effective ways to make the client feel that you have made the effort to personalise your submission.
If you have certain sections that really do not change from bid-to-bid, you can even create them as a template, highlighting where you will insert the client and project name at strategic points.
3. Make it benefits-driven
This is a principle you should keep in mind all the way through the document.
4. Use practical and relevant examples
An excellent benefits-driven approach is to use practical case study examples. They don’t have to be long – instead of a dedicated ‘case study’ section, you could use text boxes throughout with short case study examples. These could be placed as ‘for instances’ where you are talking about a specific part of the project scope – a very effective way to illustrate the point. But at the same time, they need to be relevant.
5. Use strong visuals
As well as using case studies creatively as text boxes, have other strong design elements to make your bid proposal readable and engaging. You can use pull-out quotes throughout in the form of short 1-2 sentence client testimonials for example, or infographics to highlight key facts or figures.
6. Be accurate
This is not just in the narrative you put forward, but also in the accuracy of your spelling and grammar. Proofread, proofread, proofread – or better still, find an outside party to do it. We cannot express this more strongly.
A careless bid proposal will read to the client that you’ll do a sloppy job. A well-presented and accurate proposal will immediately make you a safe pair of hands in the eyes of the reader.
7. Do a compliance check before submittal
To ensure you have addressed every point, prepare a compliance check table, cross-referencing the clauses within the RFP and where you have addressed them. This is an important internal tool and you could also include this within the bid submittal as a way of showing the client that you have read, understood and addressed each point.
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