Is Proposal Help Right for You?

Chris Sant San Diego Workshop
Training a great pharmaceutical client on proposal fundamentals in San Diego

You need to increase your win rate, right? That’s how you’re being measured because that’s how everyone in the proposal industry is measured. This isn’t exactly a secret. More wins means more revenue. Either you won or you lost. Either your company gets the chance to help the client or you messed up and now some cut-rate competitor is going to make a tragedy of everything.

On top of increasing your win rate, you’d probably also like to win better deals. Most clients have a core area where they have about a 25% win rate.

Are these the best deals, though? Sure, some are. But mostly these are comfort zone deals. Some good, some not so good. A few great ones. A few you wish you could go back in time and no-bid because the client is like something from a horror movie.

But very few of your current deals will grow your company in new, more profitable directions. Very few will expand your market share. Very few are the “stretch” deals that transform a company from a me-too to a category leader.

Let’s assume that’s true. You’re winning a decent number of normal deals, but you need to win more. And you’re winning occasional growth and partnership deals, but not nearly enough.

On top of that, what are you dealing with from a management perspective?

Inadequate resources?

• A virtual team seemingly spread around the world?

Weak commitment from key people?

• Subject matter expert content and graphics turned in late?

• The salesperson not writing the executive summary like he promised?

Milestones and deadlines missed?

Legal stomping all over every persuasive thing your team writes?

• Maybe senior executives swooping in at the last minute to offer their insights… requiring everything to be re-done?

This is more or less the state of most proposal operations in North America and Europe.

It’s ridiculous. And yet, despite all this, you’re still judged by the win rate.

So you need to communicate your sales message better and do it faster, with less stress and less uncertainty. And you need to be able to do it under the assumption that, if you want it done, you and your team are going to have to do it yourself.

You’re right to be frustrated. But you still need to win more. There are still bills to pay. The folks above you are only going to nod sympathetically and accept those excuses for so long.

After that, costs will have to be cut. That means people.

I’ve seen it, unfortunately. A major IT consulting company wasn’t winning enough in a particular division. The division head brought us in, but it was clear he was pressured to do so. And then, sadly, he wouldn’t accept that there were better ways to write proposals than the copy/paste, boilerplate, jargon-filled, self-centered stuff he was forcing his people to send to prospective clients.

He derided proposal help as “marketing fluff” and “pretty pictures.” He said his client were different. His deals were different. His clients only cared about price. They didn’t care about value. Hell, he was sure they didn’t even read the proposals. Everything was different and nothing would work and no proposal consultant knew as much as him about his IT space.

Undoubtedly that last bit was true, but you know what wasn’t different? His win rate month after month. It stayed at zero.

Because he couldn’t put his ego in check, nothing changed. Because nothing changed, they never won enough to support the division.

So the division closed. Everyone lost their jobs.

Ultimately, he cared more about his ego than about the people who were relying on him to lead the division.

Don’t be that guy.

Proposals matter.

Line of questioners
Answering questions after a talk on “Lies Legal Told You” in Seattle

Luckily, the vast majority of people are much, much better than that.

And, it’s also probably safe to presume that that’s not your situation, or you wouldn’t be here. People like that can’t even acknowledge problems in the first place.

Your situation is probably more one of deciding, “Is it worth it?” Is it worth the time and money to bring someone in and gather everyone in the conference room for a day or two? Some people will have to fly in. And then you’ll have to cater lunch and someone is going to complain that there’s mayo on all the sandwiches or that there’s no vegetarian option. Meanwhile, emails will pile up.

And isn’t it just common sense? Just write better, people! Beyond that, the proposal is just putting down in words what the salespeople have already worked out, right? It’s a formality. At least, that’s what they’re always implying.

Can proposal training really add enough value to justify the hassles? And how can I know if it’ll work for me anyway?


Is it worth it?

Do Better Proposals Really Make A Difference?

Working on how to make your message memorable with a mixed sales and proposal group in London

Do clients even read proposals?

Don’t they skip everything and just go straight to the price?

Well, right now that’s probably exactly what they do with your proposals.

Why do you think clients do that?

Do you think clients would read your proposals if they contained useful information?

If your proposals helped your clients accomplish their goals… instead of just talking about yourself and when you were founded and how many offices you have and how great you are?

If your proposals showed how you actually deliver the kind of value the client wants… instead of vague claims about how much you value partnership?

If you differentiated yourself in meaningful ways… instead of merely calling yourself “uniquely qualified“?

Let me ask you this. Imagine you could push a button and, within about two weeks, you started winning more.

At first you aren’t really sure if you’re seeing what you think you’re seeing. You rub your eyes a little like they do in the movies. But, pretty soon it’s clear. You’re now winning 25% more deals.

Would you push the button?

After all, your profits and market share are exploding now, right? And if those wins are here to stay, your stress and uncertainty melt away.

If you’ve got a 25% win rate right now, and you increased that by 25%, we’re talking about a 31.25% win rate.

For every $100 million you previously won, you’re now winning $125 million.

Well, leaders at hundreds of firms (like Honeywell, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, ISS, GE, The Ken Blanchard Companies, and major US and UK law and accounting firms) already know something even better.

Chris Sant Kuala Lumpur Workshop
Helping a group of engineers quantify the value of their services

If your proposals are average right now, then you have the potential to easily, consistently win 35% more deals with the right approach.

35% more wins by making your proposals useful and helpful. By showing clients why you offer more real, quantified value than anyone else.

If you started with a 25% win rate, you’re now winning more than one third of everything you bid on.

That’s $135 million in wins where you used to bring in $100 million – just by showing the value of your solution better in your proposals.

Not to mention you’re now winning those bigger, better deals that other competitors used to always manage to steal. If you’re winning 10% of them now, you should probably be winning 15% or 20% or even 25% of them. How much would that grow your market share by? 10%? 15% more market share?

Do you think winning more will have any benefits for your team? Think back to that sad IT division. What do you think the morale was like there? How do you think it’ll be when you’re now winning so much that the CEO is patting you on your back and you introduce mid-year bonuses for the first time?

(Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet. Most clients start out saying they’d just be happy if their proposal department wasn’t dysfunctional.)

But I will say this, since good people are so important and so hard to find. In my experience, clients who start winning 30% to 40% more see an improvement in employee morale of at least 20%. In turn, this decreases negative staff departures by about the same amount – saving you the hassle of finding replacement people and not aggravating your overworked team. It cuts down on people calling in sick. Office politics aren’t quite so important in times of abundance. Nothing succeeds like success.

According to Gallup, higher morale leads to more engagement, which leads to 21% more productivity, 22% more profitability, and 41% higher quality as compared to disengaged employees.

Do good proposals make a difference?

You bet they do.

So… would you push the button?

How Do You Increase Your Success?

Chris Sant ISS Workshop
Uncovering valuable differentiators with a Scandinavian client that was pretty sure it didn’t have any

The vast majority of clients can realistically win 35% more deals pretty much instantly. How can I possibly know that? How can I possibly say that? And, most importantly, how?

Let’s answer the last question first. How do you do it?

Two ways. First, by improving the quality, structure and focus of your proposals. We’ve developed proprietary techniques – like the ABC, 5-10-15-20, Evidence IQ, Persuasion Equation, Deal Winner Wizard, and Success Matrix tools – that allow you to easily and instantly pinpoint your true audience, clarify your message, demonstrate your commitment and competence, and make the prospect feel completely comfortable with your solution. These are the skills and techniques we teach.

Second, by ensuring you can finally sell on value, instead of constantly resorting to selling on price. It’s simple. If you remember doing proofs in algebra, you may recall using the abbreviation QED to show that something was proven. It’s the same with proving value.

Quantified, Evidence-backed, Differentiated value props are one of the keys to winning more and with better profit margins

If you offer Quantified, Evidence-backed, Differentiated value propositions that makes it easy for prospects to see the enormous value of choosing you, why wouldn’t they? Pique? Gluttony for punishment? Unless the prospect is crazy (and not nearly as many are actually crazy as proposal managers might grumble about), they’ll choose you. QED. How to do this is also what we teach and among the most popular services we offer.

Isn’t proposal writing just common sense? No way. The average proposal is a self-centered, jargon-filled information dump. This is wrong in just about every possible way. But until you’ve had the structure of persuasion shown and explained to you, it’s not intuitive to do it a better way. And there are many more examples. My services are backed up by evidence-based techniques for knowing what to say, and when and how to say it. This is based on my own proprietary research. These techniques exist nowhere else. And they are proven time and time again to win you more and more deals.

Will it work for you? Yes. I don’t come in and try to teach you how to run an IT consulting company or an engineering firm. I teach you how to write proposals that are as persuasive as the law allows. It’s an entirely separate skill. I understand that your business and your clients are different. But the process buyers go through and the information they need to make a decision in your favor is not different. It’s part of the basic structure of the brain.

Can you do it yourself? Yes and no. Yes, there are certain things you can learn and should be able to apply from the best selling proposal book of all time. But the real answer is no, not really. When you were in school, did you ever feel you knew something really well… only to get a problem in the homework or on the exam and you just stared at it? The reality is that there is a huge gap between understanding something on a theoretical level and being able to apply it to actual real-world situations.

Have you ever heard of a professional sports team that didn’t have coaches? That didn’t have practices and training?

Likewise, you wouldn’t let a surgeon operate on you after having only read about the operation in a book, would you? Then why kill your best deals by operating on them without help and without hands-on training?

Bulletproof Proposal Formula talk
Speaking about the scientific reasons why some proposals win more than others at a talk for the APMP (Association of Proposal Management Professionals)

That’s why we work through actual live deals in class. It ensures that participants develop genuine insight, rather than just passively absorbing information (or, more likely, playing Angry Birds instead).

On a more practical level, this goes back to the fact that persuasive writing is not a matter of writing about yourself better and using nicer colors and graphics. Clients who have tried to fix bad proposals on their own tend to be able to make their proposals look nicer. But they can’t quite wrap their heads around the deeper, non-intuitive problems in their proposals’ quality, structure and focus.

This is a real skill and it’s OK to not be able to do it as persuasively as possible yet. Most people were thrown into proposal writing. You got very little training and guidance. You were set up to fail, so you should be extremely pleased that you do as well as you do. It’s a testament to the many extremely intelligent people I get to work with that they manage to be so successful with so many obstacles thrown in their way.

Is it worth the time and money? That’s up to you, but it sure seems like it.

Sometimes, after I do a proposal analysis for someone, they decide to try to improve things themselves with a book and some internal training. In my experience, they tend to spend at least six months on this. What do they get at the end of that? Usually, between a 0% and 5% improvement in win rate. It’s usually closer to 0%, because one of the things hiring a trainer does is provide momentum for change. Plus, you don’t need someone to fully digest the information and then create from scratch a way to train it internally — all the while still performing their normal job. But let’s say it’s a 5% improvement in win rate. This means that, with $10 million in yearly bids, they maybe made an extra $62,500 in that six months. Not bad for a $15 book, huh?

Except what have they missed out on? If they had just gotten the training from the start, they’d be looking at an extra $437,500 in that six month period. In other words, for every $10 million you currently make, training pays off roughly an extra $875,000 per year, which is $750,000 in increased revenue over the best case scenario of doing it yourself.

Some people worry they don’t have the time or money. But you hand them a check for $875,000 and see how quickly they find the time and money to go cash it.

Finally, you want proof that it works? I know I would. So here you are: these best practices raised the win rates of over 180 Fortune 500 corporations by an average of 39%.

One particular Fortune 500 company in the building service and technology industry started with a 20% win rate. After applying these approaches, they walked away with 11 of the next 12 multi-million dollar contracts. Among the 91% of deals they won were servicing an entire national park system and servicing a 1,300-acre major tourist site in Florida. (And, yes, they were bidding on the same types of deals as they had been before. The only difference was training them on how to clearly communicate the quantified value of their solution.)


Specific Services that Increase Success

There are three major ways to turbocharge your wins by around 35% – with training, content writing or both.

We customize all services to address exactly the issues you’re dealing with, but the following services give you a general idea of the areas in which we have expertise:

Training: Create a culture of sales with interesting, lasting, tailored training on these proven methods. Workshop participants walk out at the end of the day with ready-to-use content and a thorough understanding of how to apply these methods to any proposal or presentation they get in the future.

Skill development workshops:

Proposal Academy 1: Templates, Tips and Tricks for 254% More Persuasive Proposals – proposal writing fundamentals and best practices to get you on your way to 35% more wins and 35% more revenue in 35% less time

Proposal Academy 2: Truly Advanced Skills in Written Salesmanship – roll up your sleeves and prepare to get dirty, because our advanced proposal writing workshop digs deep to unearth the secrets of showing eye-popping value, maximizing your committee scores, and making your messages take up permanent residence in your buyer’s brain


Presentation Power: Techniques from a Trial Lawyer for Fearless Face-to-Face Selling – when people are nervous, they unconsciously resort to bad habits that kill deals; this course will give your team the inner and outer confidence they need to become a trusted, successful advisor to clients

Bolder Ideas, Bigger Deals, Better Negotiations: Value Creation for Proposal Managers – your team needs to win, but you need to guide them to win bigger and better deals, and you need to have the vision to move deals from ho-hum transactional deals to legitimately transformative partnerships… and now you’ll know how


Resources and tools to let your people win:

The Differentiator Designer Full-Day Workshop – provides you with empirically-backed differentiators that maximize the credibility and persuasiveness of your value propositions and that, according to Accenture research, give you twice the profit margin as your undifferentiated “me-too” competitors

Success Matrix Probability DistributionThe Value Quantification Super Class – our exclusive, science-backed ERGO technique for creating your own value quantifying panel that delivers customized, correct estimates on demand


• We are also offering one special program for a limited time, the Value Prop Quick Start Program:

— 1 day on-site training and workshop with key personnel, guaranteeing you at least 5 quantified, evidence-backed, differentiated value props to start using immediately in your proposals and marketing materials

Content Writing: Instantly start winning with a personalized library of empirically tested, reusable content and proven template. Assemble the content like Legos to create complete powerfully persuasive proposals in 35% less time.

Both: Make your win rate explode with both training and a content library. The best value by far.

All services come with an iron-clad 1,000% ROI Money Back Guarantee: Implement these techniques and you are going to generate at least ten times the cost of your proposal improvement investment in fresh wins within 18 months or your money back. Guaranteed.

About Chris

Bulletproof Proposal Formula seminar
Discussing the Bulletproof Proposal Formula — a proprietary template I show you in your Proposal Academy 1 workshop that explains exactly how to craft your message for 254% more persuasive proposals

Chris is a proposal consultant who is a former commercial litigator at one of the world’s most prestigious law firms, a graduate of Stanford Law School, and the editor of Dr. Tom Sant’s best-selling proposal books.

As a commercial litigator, he worked on cases worth over $10 billion and never lost a trial. He won his first million dollar judgment at 32, and won a path-breaking First Amendment ruling protecting freedom of speech online. After 9/11, he volunteered as a federal prosecutor. In addition, he was honored by the California State Bar for his pro bono work and was named “Consumer Lawyer of the Year.”

As a proposal consultant, he draws on his unique skills in legal and economic analysis to make your proposals as persuasive as the law allows. Chris has successfully helped organizations with a combined market cap of over $340 billion — companies like Honeywell, DataPath, ISS, Wells Fargo, CheckPoint Software, GE, The Ken Blanchard Companies and numerous others.

He has trained and taught thousands of students in workshops and lectures. Those students have applied his techniques to bring in billions of dollars in sales.

As just one example, he began working with Honeywell’s petrochemical UOP division in 2013 and has now trained over 95% of their proposal writers around the world. The results? Compared to 2012, UOP’s sales increased 41% and revenue increased 39% — from $2.3 billion to $3.2 billion per year currently. All in the face of one of the worst economic environments for petrochemicals in the last 50 years. Check out page 19 of the 2014 annual report for yourself.

What would you do with an extra $900 million every year?

Chris is the only person in the history of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals invited to deliver three separate talks as a first-time speaker. He has since presented and trained worldwide on topics such as “Lies Legal Told You,” “The $5 Focus Group,” “Creating the Killer Kickoff Meeting,” “Instant Oodles: How to Increase Your Win Rate 12% Right Now,” “Irrefutable Evidence in IT, Engineering, and Telecom Proposals,” “Persuasive Power from the Kings of the Courtroom,” and “Lawyer-Proof Value Props.”

He has been named a “Platinum Expert” for his writings on sales and proposals.

He is the author and lead researcher of BulletPoints, a monthly newsletter about cutting edge and proprietary research in decision-making psychology.

As you’ll see below, his training, presentations and consulting work in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa have been called “pure gold,” “fresh and original,” “outstanding,” “brilliant,” “engaging with a great sense of humor,” “excellent,” “easy to apply,” “entertaining,” “very relevant,” “original and smart,” “compelling,” “very easy to follow” and “eye opening and informative.”



Standing room only at presentation on how to quantify the value your solution provides

Read some real reactions from real people talking about their real results. The following is a collection of typical feedback from workshops, training sessions and presentations.

I’ve been in proposals for several decades and done all the Shipley courses and this was the best training I’ve ever attended. -Robin Beck, Head of Proposals for North America, ManpowerGroup (services)

Chris said that the persuasion strategies we were learning were universal because they’re fundamental to how the brain functions. I got a chance to put that to the test as an American female negotiating with hostile Afghan warlords. They worked brilliantly. In retrospect, the entire experience was truly outstanding and keeps on delivering value. I wholeheartedly recommend Chris’ courses for any proposal or sales division. -Sarah Porter, Lead, Chemonics (development services)

Your content is excellent and you make it easy to understand. Your delivery is energizing, engaging, and provides dozens of inspiring, relevant ideas that I want to implement immediately. You are an excellent thinker, communicator, and teacher! Thank you for providing incredibly practical, helpful tools for creating winning proposals!  -Trish Derho, Proposal Specialist, The Ken Blanchard Companies (leadership training)

Chris, you are an inspiration!! I have to tell you that this was the best presentation on this topic that I have ever seen. Thanks for presenting… Personally, I think you have built on your family legacy in the proposal world and then some!! 😉 -Amy S. Klingele, Proposal Manager, Guardian Life Insurance (insurance)

Loved it. Very helpful in retaining the concept and translating it for use. Nicely done! -Karen Hansel, Proposal Manager, TEKsystems Global Services (IT)

Finally, a voice that understands the hard work of proposals. The sales/proposal writer interaction, the many roles we must assume, the legal pushback. All of it, so true. Your insights into our poor proposal readers (the clients) are most valuable. -Kristian Rowley, Content Professional,  ManpowerGroup (services)

Very kind audience reaction after a speech in Boston on how quantifying the value you provide leads to a 12% higher win rate
Very kind audience reaction after a speech in Boston on how quantifying the value you provide leads to a 12% higher win rate

Chris’ delivery was entertaining and engaging, maintaining his audience’s attention and generating great questions, as well as answering them knowledgeably. Chris’ approach to proposal kickoffs is fresh and original, a stark departure from the standard quad chart and contact list slide deck. I look forward to implementing his ideas at my next proposal kickoff! -Steve Skeldon, Proposal Manager, Engility Corporation (defense)

Brilliant and delivered by a true communicator. New, novel and easy to apply. Great to learn something big that matters! -Jay Herther, Director of Business Winning, BAE, APMP Fellow, author (defense)

He is very knowledgeable about both the legal world and the proposal world – and truly understands the marriage between those areas. Chris was very engaging throughout and had a great sense of humour. -Julianne Walker, Lead, Microsoft (IT)

Outstanding, down-to-earth, ethical, and understandable! -Alan O’Neal, Senior Proposal Manager, SAS Institute Inc. (IT)

Excellent suggestions to keep proposals persuasive while appeasing the legal department. The information was practical, relevant and immediately useful to my career. -Jenna Beck, Proposal Specialist and Former APMP California Social Media / Marketing Chair, Toshiba (high tech)

The innovative content and the practicality in which the material was presented were informative with pieces I could implement in both kick off meetings and overall proposal improvement. The erudite, enthusiastic delivery was engaging, entertaining, and educational. -Monika Crannell, Proposal Manager, Yulista Holding, LLC (defense)

Kickoff audience
Audience taking notes during a talk about making the proposal kickoff process 30% more effective

Made me think of a whole new way to look at proposals and new, potentially very useful tool to validate my business development material. Rarely do you run across something really new and different in this field. Thank you Chris! -Rich McLaughlin, Senior Director Proposal Development, Cubic (high tech)

I think Chris does a great job of walking the talk … we are all taught to back up claims with proof points, and he does an impeccable job of providing evidence to support his recommendations. He turns what can be a rather subjective and opinion-driven subject into pragmatic instruction by constructing experiments, gathering data, and reporting on his findings. This lends credibility to his recommendations well beyond that given by many other authors/speakers on the subject. -Holly Meyer, Director, Noridian Healthcare Solutions (healthcare)

Awesome! I am going to have to change the way I think about some of the responses I provide. The content was extremely informative and eye opening. -Susanne Taylor, Proposal Specialist, CTG (IT staffing)

Simply by implementing your suggestions, I am confident that I can make our proposals more persuasive! -Rachelle Reid, Director of Bid Management and Content Development, HGS Canada (professional services)

These techniques are compelling. I got two ideas to try immediately and can implement them based on Chris’ presentation. -Chuck McGavren, RFP Manager, West Corporation (telecom)

One of the best. Very easy to follow and the mnemonics are all easy to remember and made note taking more manageable. Many of the concepts will also be relatively simple for me to add into my organization’s current proposal process. -Erika Dianovsky, Senior Manager Business Development Communications, Korn Ferry (consulting)

A fundamental change that can be easily implemented. With positive impact as the result, it sometimes are the “little” tips that can be implemented and that start changing a culture in a positive manner. This will be useful in our efforts to create positive change. –Stephen Malone, Director Bids and Proposals, MorphoTrust (high tech)

I loved it along with the seminars I attended at the past APMP Bid and Proposal Conference. Thank you so much for all the time and effort you have given, it is very much appreciated! -Bethany Burton, BD Associate, Evergreen Fire and Security (government services)

Excellent. Very practical and useful. -Richard Chagnon, Solution Integration Specialist, Right Management (outsourcing services)

Very very helpful — with real, concrete advice.  Will also try (sigh) to get Sales to pay attention to this game-changing information. Thank you. -Rebecca Kavanaugh, Proposal Developer, Pearson (education and publishing)

I loved it and the tips you shared regarding discussing issues that come up with Legal. I especially appreciated the examples of how your suggestions could be applied. -Stacey Duwe, RFP Team Lead, Wells Fargo (banking)

I don’t think I’ve ever heard value propositions explained so clearly. Thanks! -Melanie Gibbs, Senior Proposal Writer, Harland Clarke (payment solutions)

One of the best trainings I have ever attended. Very happy. -Dan Lyons, Senior Proposal Analyst, Kforce (professional staffing)

Your 1,000% ROI Guarantee

Savings accounts pay 1%.

Bonds pay 3%.

Stocks pay 8%.

I am so certain that you will win more and win faster, that I personally guarantee it to the tune of 1,000%.

After talking with you and analyzing your current proposals, and assuming I can help, I will recommend the specific training or changes that will generate the biggest immediate improvements for you.

Persuasion talk
Presenting on how to make sure your proposals are as persuasive as possible

Implement those strategies and you will earn back at least a 1,000% return on your investment in better proposals within 18 months. If you don’t, I’ll return the fees. Just like that.

There is literally nothing at risk for you.

Frankly, there’s nothing at risk for me either. Remember, these are the techniques that increased Fortune 500 clients’ win rates by 39%. Compared to that, my fees aren’t even a rounding error. They’re a rounding error to the rounding error.

But you don’t even need to worry about that. If your increased win rate and capture rate don’t show that you’ve made back at least 10 times my fees after 18 months, I’ll return them.



Contact us now.

So… How Does It Work?

Value prop training
Hands-on training on the elements of a persuasive value proposition with a professional services client

OK, so let’ say you’re potentially interested. Yes, you want to improve your win rates. Yes, you feel like your proposals can be more persuasive. Yes, you think that what I’m talking about could work. But what would it look like? How do you go about actually doing it?

It’s an easy process. And you’re in control the whole time. Also, if you ever decide that you’d rather stick with what you’ve got, that’s fine. Everything between us stays confidential.  Otherwise, clients usually follows four steps when they decide to bring me in to help out.

Step 1: You contact me

First, just send me an email at or call or fill out the form below.

Tell me you’re thinking about getting some proposal help. Or just say you’d like a fresh set of eyes to look at your proposals. It’s your email, you can give me as much or as little information as you want!

Either my assistant or I will email you back as soon as possible. We’ll let you know about my schedule so you’re not left waiting and wondering.

If you haven’t described the problems you’re having – or if you’re not sure yet if you have one – I’ll ask a few questions. What do you think the issue is? What are you hoping to change or confirm? What do you want to get out of any potential proposal help? More wins? Bigger deals? Less stress? Predictability and control? Faster process? Or do you need help identifying the root problem?

Step 2: I perform a proposal analysis

We’ll also discuss your proposal operations to get a better sense of what, if any, solution will be most effective and efficient for you.

At that time, if you haven’t sent me any recent proposals, I’ll also ask you to send at least three to five. This is all free and confidential.

I’ll read them over and analyze them for the presence or absence of the proposal best practices. I’ll also run some linguistic tests.

Step 3: I either make recommendations or give congratulations

Afterwards, I’ll give you your results. This will include how you compare to others and how much proposal improvement is realistic for you specifically in the near term.

Do you even need any help at all? Frankly, you most likely do or you wouldn’t be here, right?

But sometimes current proposals are pretty good. If that’s you, I’m absolutely upfront about it. I’ll congratulate you and happily make whatever suggestions I can to help you go from good to great. Believe me, I don’t need to take on clients I can’t do much for. I already see more than enough airports as it is. Plus, since I guarantee a 1,000% ROI, I only focus on clients who I know I’ll help.

Assuming there are issues, I’ll let you know:

• How are you doing compared to others?
• How much better could you be doing?
• What sort of increase in win rate can you expect from improved proposals?

How is it possible for me to make those forecasts when I don’t even know you yet?

Because proposal writing is a separate skill. It’s all about persuasion. If your product or service is good, and you’re competing against other companies who also have good products and services, then the trick is in the presentation, right? It’s in persuading the buyer to choose yours instead of a rival’s. And that persuasive presentation is easily analyzable once you know what to look for. As a result, you can feel extremely confident that these forecasts are accurate (not to mention they’re backed up by my money-back guarantee).

Evidence talk
Answering questions after a talk on finding and using compelling evidence

Step 4: You decide what you want to do next

After that, it’s up to you. If you want to move forward with some training or consulting, then you just tell me so. My rates are based on the value of the service.

Training is generally $1,180 per workshop participant per day, with a 10 person minimum. As a point of comparison, generic sales training from Harvard Business School’s extension division runs $2,700 per person. (Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great deal, as almost any competent sales training is. But it isn’t tailored to your situation. It doesn’t have your people work on actual deals to make sure they understand how to apply the concepts in the real world. It doesn’t give you control of the process. And it isn’t presented by the person actually out there figuring out what works in real-world proposals.)

Content libraries (where I create, for example, a library of value props for you to use in your proposals, sales and marketing materials) are priced by the project.

Occasionally I’ll either entertain or suggest an alternative fee model. Frankly, these don’t usually work out. I’m a strong believer in creating additional value, though. So if you’re a creative thinker or want to explore different ideas, I’m happy to work with you.

Regardless, at some point, I send you a Statement of Work or you send me one or your legal department writes some gibberish that nobody understands and we just ignore it. Regardless, we set a date, get the final OKs and get to work improving your win rates.

That’s it.

What do people choose?

About 5% want consulting – for me to come in, figure out what’s going wrong and make specific recommendations. Usually in these cases, there are problems with corporate structure, lack of information flow, disconnects between the sales and the proposal people, and deficiencies with the proposals themselves. At the end, you get a report describing the problems, the effect those problems are having on your proposal success, and specific recommendations on how to solve the problems. In those cases, pretty much 100% of clients want me to train their people on writing better proposals as a new engagement.

Another 5% want speaking. With my background as a lawyer and with all the original research I do into what makes for the most effective proposals, I have a lot of new techniques and insights that you can’t get elsewhere. About 50% of these lead to additional work down the line – usually training.

About 10% want a content library. This is where I write the critical sections of your proposals for you, which you then plug into real proposals like Legos. Typically, we’ll set up a workshop where I train your high level people on effective persuasion so they know why and how to plug in the content. As the workshop unfolds, participants will generate the material I need for the content library. I then take that back and create the content for you. This is a turn-key solution since all you have to do is identify which content to use where. Instant persuasive proposal.

But the vast majority of clients – around 80% – come in wanting training. I say “come in,” because around half end up wanting a content library as well. Why? Because clients realize that some of their people are more engaged and effective than others. In order to get all of them over the last mile of consistently creating maximally persuasive proposals, it’s easier and delivers a much higher ROI to simply have me do it. This works well, since my training has your participants work on real deals. So participants are constantly generating information about your industry and business and competitors – all the stuff I need to create persuasive content libraries.

OK, so let’s talk about training, since it’s ultimately something most clients want.

What’s my training like?

For training, I have a 10 person minimum and a 25 person maximum. The reason is that I divide the participants into teams and you compete against each other for points and prizes.

Egos are on the line!

Pride is at stake!

Let me just tell you, people get very invested in winning. And how do you win? Master each of the skills necessary for you to create a truly persuasive proposal. Win-win, huh? Fun and profitable for them and for you.

Recently, I had a group in London. One of the people was the brand new VP of Sales. The real deal. The others were line managers and regional managers. Well, he had just started only two weeks previously. So he called up ahead of time and said, “This looks great and I’ve heard great things, but I’m just going to observe, if that’s alright.”

Persuasion exercise debrief
Debriefing after an exercise with a team of engineers on why some proposals are more persuasive than others

Take a guess. Can a VP of Sales see a competition and not immediately want to win it? Within 10 minutes, there he was with everyone else, arguing why his team’s answers were more right than other teams, and why they deserve bonus points and on and on. Everyone was laughing and having a great time.

That’s typical. On course evaluation forms, the class regularly gets “5”s all the way down. In just the past five classes, I’ve had at least a dozen people come up after class and say it was the best training they’ve ever taken. That’s not meant to brag. It’s simply meant to get across how seriously I take training my classes, using the right blend of fun and rigor and taking the time to ensure that everyone truly gets it.

And then, just because class is over, that doesn’t mean my help is done. All of my services come with some amount of free consulting. Your people can send an executive summary for review or ask follow-up questions or whatever they want. Remember, I give you a money-back guarantee, so I’m happy to clarify and help.

So, there you go. That’s how it works.

Top 10 Results

Besides a fun, engaging, interactive experience, what else do you get when you hire me to help you whip your win rate into shape?

Here’s the top 10 results you will benefit from, based on my experience with amazing folks at clients like Wells Fargo, Honeywell and The Ken Blanchard Companies:

1. You will make more money. You will win more proposals and you will win more big deals. A survey of 180 Fortune 500 clients showed that they increased their win rate by 39% on average.

2. You will discover persuasive techniques that bring jaw-dropping results. This includes my proprietary persuasion equation for tapping into the brain’s three persuasion channels and the ABC technique for instantly zeroing in on what the buyer really wants. Our research shows that the sum total of these techniques will make your proposal or sales presentation, on average, 254% more persuasive – even if you have fewer features than your competitors.

3. You will learn how to differentiate yourself in ways that leave competitors in your dust. Research by Accenture shows that, if you can differentiate yourself in the marketplace, you will have twice the profit margin than your undifferentiated competitors.

4. You will gain tricks and techniques for improving persuasiveness. My proprietary 5-10-15-20 technique, for example, has been empirically tested and proven to increase persuasiveness by between 10 and 50%. And it takes all of 2 minutes to do.

5. You will learn the structure of persuasion. Your proposals will tap directly into the brain’s decision-making system. Results from fMRIs show that persuasive messages light up different centers of the brain than do other types of writing. If you want them to choose you, you have to give them the right information in the right order.

6. You will apply your results right now. In fact, many students leave the workshop with executive summaries, presentations, differentiators, value statements, case studies and other essentials for live deals already done. At several training classes, we’ve applied the techniques to opportunities that came up that very day.

• In one recent case, a participant got an email from his contact at Samsung, asking for a summary of his proposal’s main points. (Translation: I didn’t understand what you wrote and it was all about you anyway. Can you please give me the information I need to sell this internally?) So, over lunch, we sat down and wrote it right then and there. He sent it. Within 20 minutes, he got an email back, saying, “Thank you so much. This is exactly what I needed to convince my boss.” Final result? Success.
• In another recent case, a participant worked on a deal in class, presented it the next day, and won a $26 million deal the following Monday. A person could get used to success like that.

7. You will learn how to support your proposal with clear, crisp evidence, including my proprietary techniques for valuing pieces of evidence, and knowing which evidence to present when. Using evidence effectively increases the persuasiveness of your proposal between 40 and 92%.

8. You will gain a complete blueprint of exactly how to create a winning proposal or sales presentation. You get a cheat sheet template so you will always know what to say, where to put it, and exactly how to write it.

9. You will see how to sell your message graphically. The right graphics increases the persuasiveness of your message by 47%.

10. You will learn tricks that will improve the clarity and punch of your writing in less than 5 minutes.

Pretty cool stuff, huh? They really are the key to quickly recharging the sales and profitability of your firm.


Contact Us

Ready to improve your proposals? Want a free, fair evaluation of where your current proposals stand? Shoot me an email, give us a call or just fill out the 30-second contact form.


Christopher Sant Consulting

Los Angeles  |  Philadelphia



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