What happens when your proposals don’t win?
The company stagnates.
Company value falls.
People get fired.
And yet, you’re in luck. Bad proposals are the norm. The vast majority of proposals we see lack any sort of persuasive focus.
They’re more like price quotes or bills of materials. Sometimes they’re little more than the project plan or scope of work.
In the service fields, they’re often just a collection of resumes.
In other words, there’s no persuasion.
No reason for the buyer to choose you.
Now, of course, we provide a free, fair and confidential proposal review.
But, if you just want to test your hunch that your proposals need work, this is for you.
Obviously, we can only test superficial things here. Most proposals have much deeper problems — and these are the problems that our training addresses. Nonetheless, there’s a strong correlation between your answers to these questions and the quality of your proposals.
So, let’s take a look, shall we?
Pull up a recent proposal in Microsoft (one of our clients) Word.
10 Yes or No Questions
1. Does the title contain either the word “Proposal” or “Response”?
In the executive summary:
2. Is the first word something other than the client’s name?
3. Do you mention your company’s history in the first five pages?
4. Count up how many times you mention yourself and how many times you mention the client. Do you show up more than the client?
5. Do you have fewer than two charts, graphs or other meaningful graphics on the first page?
6. Are there any undefined acronyms or jargon (including your product
Now select the text in the executive summary and show the readability
statistics. (If you don’t know where that is, open this link in a separate tab and copy and paste the text there: Readability Site.)
7. Is your words per sentence count higher than 15?
8. Is the Flesch-Kinkaid Reading Ease score lower than 55?
9. Is the characters per word count higher than 5?
10. Does the executive summary end with anything other than a strong, clear call for the client to buy from you?
Count up the number of times you answered “Yes.”
0-2 Good. This is only a superficial test, but if you’re happy with your win rates, you’re probably doing fine.
3-4 Danger. Your proposals should receive zero “Yes” answers, so you’re in the danger zone. At the very least, you should buy the #1 best-selling proposal book and apply the concepts to your proposals. If you have questions or want a more in-depth look at your proposals from our free, fair and confidential review, let us know.
5+ Warning! Extreme danger. There’s a strong correlation between proposals that fail these simple tests and those that fail to differentiate your offerings, fail to show the client compelling value and ultimately fail to win. I strongly urge you to contact us for further evaluation.