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Top 10 Tips to Write Short Yet Effective Proposals

Ever given thought to what it takes to write the perfect proposal? Well, contrary to what people believe, proposal writing is more about short yet effective proposals than it is about lengthy explanations. It’s more about writing to win with a clear and efficient strategy that derives from quality relationship building with potential clients. Your goal is to convince them to choose your company over competitors and you don’t have to go overboard to capture client attention.

With that said, let’s explore how to shorten your proposal right off the bat with 10 easy tips and tricks to create a short, yet effective proposal.

Ready to check them out?

Let’s jump right in!

#1 Quit Being Irrelevant

The very first tip to writing short yet effective proposals are to stick with what the customer wants to hear. There’s no point in writing about things they barely care about because they won’t read it and it can likely disqualify your proposal. You don’t have time to waste anyway. This is the most important tip, but of course, there’s more.

#2 Dumb Down Each Sentence

Next up, quit trying so hard to write the most scholarly sentences. You’re not writing for a group of nuclear engineers, and even if you are, make it simple, make it plain. For the most part, pay less attention to combining features and benefits and briefly address them so the entire piece will not be wordier than necessary.

#3 Get Straight to the Point

How do you see your proposal? Do you see it as a checklist or a strategic document? Well, if you’ve been thinking about it as the latter, we recommend that you stop right away. It’s a checklist. Just state the facts, qualifications, proof points, and benefits for your responses and you cannot fail. Always be direct – it’s the best way to ensure compliance.

An RFP software that segments requirements through checklists will help you visualize.

#4 Group Things

It’s an excellent idea to group things to get rid of connecting words. The big idea here is to consolidate responses and create a clear narrative. Just figure out what you want to say in each section, then map that into a succinct, engaging outline. The best proposal management software can maintain consistent section layouts to ease outline development.

#5 Use Lists

Another great tip for short, yet effective proposal writing is to write in lists. On top of gaining reader attention, lists are great space savers. One thing to avoid, however, is explaining every single function or related item in your list — just add the details that resonate with the reader.

#6 Tell a Simple Story

Here’s the thing: proposals are supposed to tell a story and that story does not have to be long and complicated. With that said, you won’t be wrong to tell your story with simple checklists — this will show clients just how easy it is to work with your company.

Introduce your story with how your organization will solve the client’s problem, narrate with value, and close strong just before the proposal gets too wordy.

#7 Forget Unnecessary Fluff

Now, you may think that clients are interested in your company history, industry background, or great universal principles that you hold. They are not. Unless specifically asked to provide – and many RFPs require brief versions – there is no need to go into vast detail about company background or irrelevant information. Just focus on your solution to the client’s problem and how your organization will manage it effectively.

#8 Do Not Overly Summarize

A summary for every single section is not a good idea — that only makes the proposal longer! Remember, our goal here is to make it short and effective; so outside of the Executive Summary, skip the summaries.

#9 Use Graphics Where Necessary

Graphics can simplify the message. If a process is complex or contains several steps that are very technical, it is highly recommended that you use graphics to depict the process. There’s no need to explain the illustration further when your content is already clear and concise— a caption and title is enough.

A quick bonus tip: For captions, message the value of the process instead of just restating the obvious.

#10 Skip Conclusions

Have you made a strong case in the proposal? Is the proposal clear and concise? If yes to both questions, pat yourself on the back because you’ve done a great job!

If you’re thinking about how to conclude the proposal, stop right there. Trust us, the reader may glance over a conclusion if they read it at all. Conclusions are not necessary because clients expect only relevant information. You’ve answered yes to the top two questions, right? That means you’ve made your point and the evaluator is clear on how to proceed.

So, there you have it! Your 10 tips to write short, yet effective proposals that can increase your chances of another win. Remember, the goal is to write once, limit error, and secure the contract. To employ these tips and improve accuracy, use proposal management software that makes it easy.

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