Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win More Customers, Clients, and Contracts

By Tom Sant | Go to book overview

11 The Structure of the Letter Proposal
The letter proposal may be as brief as a single page or as long as three or four pages with attachments. The exact salutation you use, the particular format you choose (block, modified block, whatever), the complimentary close, none of that's really very important. What's important is that your letter proposal clearly address the essential elements of the persuasive paradigm as described in Chapter 4:
1. The client's need or problem. Get right to the point. Don't waste time with cliché openings. In fact, mark it down as an infallible rule, any sentence that begins [Per your …] is a bad sentence. Even more common is an opening sentence like this: [I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing us to submit our proposal for your consideration.] What's wrong with that? It sounds like the writer is groveling.

What's a better opening?

Well, you can start with a [thank you,] if you want to. For example, [Thank you for providing the information we requested so that we could com plete our proposal and develop the right solution for your situation. We are committed to developing a solution that offers the right business fit as well as conforming to your key technical requirements.]

Or you can start by referencing previous meetings, contacts, or the client's RFP:

[Based on the meeting held at your offices the first and third weeks of June, plus several phone interviews with other members of your team, we have developed an approach to deal with the three specific challenges you identi fied.]

But the best opening is usually one that gets right to the point, focusing on the specific problem or need that is affecting the client's profitability or productivity:

[Physicians and nurses working in your hospital have indicated that the current process for recording case notes is awkward, time consuming, and inac curate. As you explained to us, it represents a legacy system, which has long been out of date, and a number of patches and additions created in-house.]

Or like this:

[Your decision to provide an online option for those customers who prefer not to shop at one of your three retail outlets is very exciting, because it will make it possible for them to order the finest in golf equipment, balls, and clothing at any time of the day or night and from any location. But it also

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