Writing a compelling bid proposal can be a pretty challenging feat, especially if it’s your first time or you don’t do it all that often. It’s easy to fall into the trap of writing it like an info packet, rather than a persuasion tool to get your client to see that you’re offering the best deal. It’s also very tempting to overpromise what you’re going to deliver while citing the lowest possible price, which canny clients will often see as less as tantalizing and more of a red flag. All of this can result in your bid proposal being passed over for a better and more convincing one.
To prevent against this, here are some tips you can use to write an effective business proposal that’ll get your client to lock down that deal with you.
Understand and internalize as much of the project as you possibly can.
Don’t just skim over the project details and then hash out a bid immediately in an attempt to get your bid in first. While it’ll certainly be impressive that you can get a bid proposal into the client’s inbox mere moments after they’ve posted their project up, they won’t be as impressed when your clear lack of knowledge about the project becomes obvious. You may even miss something crucial that they’ve hidden between the lines of their job request, as a way to weed out the bid proposals that aren’t really taking their demands seriously.
Reduce the chances of this happening by taking the time to really read the project’s details in their entirely. Read the entire thing twice, even three times, just to get everything internalized properly. If you find something that you don’t understand, ask questions or research on your own. The key here is to pay attention to every detail, no matter how small. The more time you take in understanding the project, the more informed, well-prepared and professional your bid proposal will look.
Use the power of comparison to your advantage.
Your prospective client will always be looking to save money. That’s a fact of life, no matter if they have a reputation for taking on huge and expensive projects. This doesn’t necessarily mean you make your prices as low as you possibly can, of course. It just means that you have to properly contextualize the price you’re asking for, so that they can fully appreciate the value for money that they’re getting.
One solid way of doing this is to compare a lesser, more economical option to what you’re offering. For example, say you’re bidding on providing catering services for a big party. Take the option you’re offering in your bid proposal and compare it to a more affordable option being sold by a competitor. Show them what they can get for that lower price, then show what you’re offering for the price you’ve set. This contrast will soften the sticker shock and convince your client that he’s they’re getting the better deal by going with you.
Offer three options, not more or less.
Prospective clients want to feel like they’re in control—that they have freedom to choose what exactly they need. By only giving them one or two options, they may feel that you’re putting them in a box, where the only way out is to pick your most lucrative and expensive options. Give them some breathing room by offering up a variety of choices, but no more than three. This gives them enough options to consider but without subjecting them to analysis paralysis.
One other tactic you can also pull off here is to arrange your options in such a way that they’re presented with the most expensive one first, and then decreasing in price as they go down to the second and third. This will give your clients a sense of relief and make those options seem more reasonable. They may even get piqued about the most expensive option, especially if they’re the kind of client that’s looking to make a statement with their job request.
Choose your language carefully.
Don’t use words like “cost”, “fee”, “charge”, or “payments”. You’re here not just to sell something to your client, you’re here to convince them of the value that they’re getting by going with you. As such, you should never use words that remind them that they will in fact be spending money. Instead, use positive words that bring up a sense of mutual benefit, such as “investment”, “savings”, and “value”. This may seem like a messaging or theming issue rather than anything else, but it’s very important.
Check for typos obsessively.
Always go through your proposal with a fine-toothed comb before sending it out. Have a fresh pair of eyes or two to check your writing for errors and spelling mistakes. Double check and triplecheck figures, especially those that have to do with your pricing. You can’t afford to mess up at this juncture, especially with something that the client expects as a bare minimum of professionalism. If you end up with a typo at a very critical part of your bid proposal, you can say goodbye to your chances of getting that deal closed.
Always keep in mind that your bid proposal is a persuasion tool, not a fact sheet or glorified menu of your firm’s services. By doing so, as well as practicing the above tips in your proposal-writing process, you’ll have an easier time writing convincing and compelling bid-winning proposals. Good luck!