Writing Proposals that Win Contracts Training

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This seminar will greatly improve participants' chances of winning a contract. Seminar attendees will learn firsthand about RFP preparation from the instructors' personal experience gathered over a quarter century.

The topics covered include:

  • Laying the foundation for RFPs, including pricing
  • Examining the myths and realities of responding to RFPs
  • Evaluating the bid/no-bid decision
  • Learning the three elements of a good proposal
  • Writing technically sound proposals
  • Asking the right questions at pre-bid conferences
  • Using the Freedom of Information Act and debriefing conference to your advantage

Seminar Tips

Three key elements a winning proposal will demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the client's needs
  • The knowledge of how to fill the client's needs
  • The capability of delivering what you propose

Use the following resources to expand your knowledge of proposal writing:

  • Proposal Cafe - Comprehensive array of free proposal development and management resources, including this page that contains links to resources helpful to small businesses

Additional Proposal Writing Training Available

Proposal Writing Boot Camp

This four-day seminar is designed to prepare an entire team or department to prepare proposals that win contracts. It focuses on both the clear writing and the business aspects of proposal writing. This training will immediately give your group the direction and organization needed to tackle the work involved in responding to a large government or corporate RFP.

Each segment of the class will be introduced by the instructor and include hands-on exercises relating to a composite RFP that relates to the type the participants are expected to prepare. Information that is presented to the class will be reinforced through small group and individual exercises. Plan to participate!

Power Writing/Report Writing/Writing Technical Documents

Day 1 and Day 2

Power Writing

Writing documents that are concise, thorough, and well organized is the basis for a winning proposal. In this class, you will review the basics like sentence structure, correct punctuation, and effective paragraphing. You will also learn how to streamline your writing for clarity and conciseness. The best proposals depend on outstanding writing skills. After attending this class, you will be able to accomplish the following:

  • Compose several different types of sentences
  • Vary sentence structure to maintain your readers’ interest
  • Punctuate each type of sentence correctly
  • Write concisely and eliminate filler phrases
  • Identify tired words and phrases
  • Compose strong topic sentences
  • Develop paragraphs with four different types of specifics
  • Create bullet points and lists from narrative text
  • Distinguish between different types of transitions
  • Choose the appropriate style and tone
  • Use persuasive wording

Report Writing

Writing an effective report can be overwhelming! Some of the challenges you face are writing for a diverse audience, succinctly summarizing the main points of your report, organizing a vast amount of information, and reaching a strong conclusion. This class will cover the following components:

  • Analyzing your readers
  • Addressing the needs of a mixed audience
  • Developing reports through the three-step writing process
  • Organizing your report
  • Selecting an organizational pattern
  • Writing an executive summary
  • Developing the introduction
  • Creating the results and discussion section
  • Presenting your conclusion
  • Forming the recommendations section
  • Writing the first draft
  • Choosing the right visual aids
  • Using headings and subheadings
  • Revising your report

Writing Technical Documents

This class will prepare you to write technical documents, with the emphasis placed on proposal writing. You will be given tips and techniques on how to start the writing process, how to organize materials by purpose and audience, and how to present complex information simply. This class will cover the following components:

  • Reviewing the six principles of technical writing
  • Focusing on your readers’ needs
  • Adapting your writing to your audience
  • Writing for a mixed audience
  • Writing with greater clarity and precision
  • Developing ideas and information clearly
  • Using white space effectively
  • Choosing the appropriate visual aid to convey information

Day 3 and Day 4

Writing Proposals that Win Contracts

This two-day class will greatly improve participants' chances of writing a proposal that wins a contract for their employer. Seminar attendees will learn firsthand about RFP preparation from the instructor’s personal experience that has been gathered over two decades. This class will cover the following components:

  • Laying the foundation for RFPs, including pricing
  • Examining the myths and realities of responding to RFPs
  • Evaluating the bid/no-bid decision
  • Learning the three elements of a good proposal
  • Writing technically sound proposals
  • Asking the right questions at pre-bid conferences
  • Using the Freedom of Information Act and debriefing conference to your advantage
  • Rating your proposal in advance to produce a winner
  • Protecting proprietary information in proposal
  • Writing to different levels of technical expertise
  • Ensuring that each page of your proposal conveys the message you want delivered

Proposal Consulting

Cypress Media Group can also help those companies that don't need proposal writing training but could benefit from proposal consulting. We can work with your executives and proposal writing team to develop the proposal strategy you need to win a contract. An ideal time to engage our proposal consulting services is in advance of the release of a major request for proposals on which you plan to bid. We usually sign a non-disclosure agreement so your confidential and proprietary information is protected.

Our lead proposal consultant is Randall. P. Whatley. He has worked as a proposal manager on large government and corporate contracts for over 26 years. In addition, he has served as a proposal consultant to both major corporations and government agencies. Let his quarter century of practical, hands-on experience with proposal strategy and proposal writing benefit your team as you pursue major contracts.

The following are some of the proposal consulting services Cypress Media Group can offer your company:

  • Review the bid package with your proposal team to make the bid/no bid decision
  • Review the bid package with your proposal team to create clarification questions for the contracting officer
  • Develop a strategy for your response to each section of the bid
  • Develop a writing strategy to create a winning proposal
  • Develop a work completion plan
  • Develop a competitive and profitable pricing strategy

Proposal Consulting Client Testimonial

"We called Randy to help us with proposal writing for our team. We had the benefit of having an active proposal in hand. Randy shifted our paradigm in how we were approaching the writing of the proposal from tactical to strategic, and the result was an incredibly high quality response. We invested well, because we took away not just the help for an isolated proposal, but the strategic vision to use that approach in future proposals. Randy is quick to respond to questions and has lots of resources at hand that proved helpful. I highly recommend Randy – he is engaged, intelligent, and dedicated."
- Elizabeth Wing, Vice President, Wing Inflatables

Frequently Asked Questions about our Proposal Writing Training

Answers provided by our proposal writing trainer, Randall P. Whatley

Q: How has proposal writing changed over the last ten years?

A: Proposal writers face different challenges now than they used to face.

Here are just three of the many situations we cover in our proposal writing training seminar.

Proposal writers have to write to readers with shorter attention spans and go to extra lengths to highlight the most important information in their proposals. Fewer subject matter experts seem to be on proposal review teams and more inexperienced people serve as substitutes or fill-ins on the teams. This requires more work to write to a variety of reader groups--from executives to technicians to general readers. Additionally, more proposals are being divided by section and assigned to specific review team members for analysis, often with no one reading the entire proposal. This challenges proposal writers to ensure that each section of their proposal stands on its own merits and fully explains its connection to other parts of the proposal.

Q: What advice do you have for a proposal team that includes numerous employees who write just the parts of the proposal on which they are a subject matter expert?

A: The proposal leader needs to craft an overall strategy with a win theme. The proposal leader needs to share these with all the other contributors so they can weave this theme into their writing. We recommend that three different people who are otherwise removed from the proposal writing process serve as proposal editors to ensure that the proposal is cohesive and has one voice.

Q: What differentiates your proposal writing training from that of your competitors?

A: We don't just speak in theory about this subject; rather we share practical application techniques with our participants on this topic. Look at our training client list. We had to respond to RFPs to win virtually all of the contracts with these companies and government agencies.

Some of our competitors are larger companies with impressive corporate credentials. However, their trainers, the people you will actually work with, are often soft skills trainers instead of proposal writing experts. Those trainers teach proposal writing out of the standard corporate workbook. By contrast, we spend our days actually writing proposals for our company and working with our clients on proposal writing and proposal strategy. Our experience ranges from writing proposals for contracts worth several thousand dollars to billions of dollars. We work with companies ranging from home-based businesses to multi-national corporations in diverse industries.

Q: How do I justify the cost of providing proposal writing training to our senior managers who will have to authorize the funding?

A: Point out how expensive it is already for your company to bid on contracts you lose because your proposal team doesn’t have the necessary training. Note that you will likely recoup the entire cost of the training with a fraction of the fees on the first contract you win because your proposals improved after the training.

Call 770-640-9919 or e-mail info@cypressmedia.net for more information on our proposal consultant services. Once we know more about your specific needs, we can provide you with a price quote for these services along with references to clients for whom we have provided proposal consulting in the past.

Client Testimonials

"Of all my training in recent memory, the techniques I learned last week in your Proposal Writing Boot Camp were the best. It was practical, readily applicable, current, and fun to learn."
"Just a quick note to thank you again for the great training sessions you conducted last week. I have received nothing but positive feedback (a rarity for this group!), so your message got through loud and clear. We will certainly put what was learned to lots of good use over the coming months. I appreciate all of your efforts to make this work for us."
"Very informative! I learned techniques on how to respond to RFPs that I did not know before. This training helped us figure out our shortcomings."
"This training was very relevant to our current RFP situation, and it gave us concrete steps to follow to improve our response process. The instructor demonstrated both in-depth knowledge about and enthusiasm for this subject."
"The information that I learned about the proposal process was valuable to our company. Your materials were outstanding. I also appreciated the candid answers to our questions pertaining to the current proposal writing system that we have in place. This training will help us win more business."
"This training helped us focus on the best techniques to use to improve our proposal strategies."
"I liked the way the instructor guided us through the complete proposal process. Our conversation flowed naturally from topic to topic. This class was thoroughly enjoyable. It was not boring. It was definitely fun, interesting, and to the point. I was very impressed with the instructor's knowledge of proposal writing."
"This course was personalized for our company and focused on an open discussion of proposal writing instead of being "death by PowerPoint." It contained a great mix of easily implemented strategies and long-term goals to work toward to benefit our business."
"Our company is pursuing a multi-billion dollar government contract. We brought in the Cypress Media Group trainers to put our proposal team through their proposal writing boot camp. I am glad we did! Our team is much more prepared to attack this all-important proposal now. I told our executive leadership team about the quality of your trainers and the benefits our team received from this training."
"It was a pleasure to work with you in putting together this workshop and receiving the benefit of your unique skill in taking a complex topic and making it palpable and enjoyable. Your offer of continued assistance to our Agency when we embark upon upcoming Federal grant opportinities is appreciably noted."

Schedule This Training

For groups of 3 or more participants

Cypress Media Group presents this seminar as an on-site offering at your work location or at an off-site location of your choice. We can customize this training program to suit your precise training needs.

For economic reasons, this seminar is only offered to groups of roughly three or more people with the same training needs. If you have a group with similar training needs, please call us at 770-640-9918 or E-mail to discuss your interest.

For fewer than 3 participants

We do not offer this course as an open enrollment public offering for individuals. If you have fewer than three participants who are interested in this course, the cost will be the same as for a larger group.

Please call us at 770-640-9918 or E-mail to discuss your interest.

About the Instructor

Randall P. Whatley

Randall P. Whatley is a 30-year media veteran with diverse business experience. He is president of Cypress Media Group, an advertising, public relations, and training firm. He has extensive experience advising government officials, political candidates, public officials, and corporate executives.

Whatley teaches the practical, real-world skills that he has acquired and refined over three decades as an advertising and public relations practitioner. His presentation and media relations skills were honed as a lobbyist and political consultant on over 50 campaigns in four states. He has written two books, two syndicated newspaper columns, and many magazine and Internet articles. He has also hosted his own television and radio program and appeared often as a TV and radio program guest, including a CNN appearance. Whatley has also produced TV and radio ads.

Randall P. Whatley teaches the following courses to companies and government agencies worldwide:

He can be reached by e-mail at randy@cypressmedia.net.

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