by Randall P. Whatley
Many business people avoid new business development that requires written proposals. They believe common myths about the subject that are, in fact, false. The following five myths about proposal writing refute and demystify the process.
Reality: Good proposal writing is very important! However, it is only one of four strategies to employ to win new business. Proposal writing is part of the presentation strategy. The other three, of equal importance, are the technical strategy, pricing strategy, and competitive strategy.
Reality: A losing bid rarely makes a good impression. Clients usually receive many proposals for each request for proposals that they issue. Their elimination process is swift and harsh. Unless you are one of the top three finalists, your company name probably won't even be recognized a week after your proposal is reviewed. Proposal preparation is too difficult and too expensive to frivolously bid and lose. Only pursue business that you have a realistic chance of winning.
Reality: All your competitors think the same thing. Your company will actually stand out if you have a winning combination of the following six factors:
Reality: Your pricing, contacts, oral presentation, and numerous other factors are important. However, you should never take the impact of your written proposal for granted. What you put in writing is a definitive statement about your company. It can be revisited by reviewers. It can even be held against you legally. Most importantly, your words can make your company look unprofessional, even unqualified.
Now that these common proposal-writing myths have been debunked, consider pursuing new business development that requires written proposals. This marketing tactic could become a successful and lucrative one for your company.
Randall P. Whatley is president of Cypress Media Group, an advertising, public relations, and training firm. Cypress Media Group provides training primarily related to business and technical writing, presentation skills, and media relations. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.