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

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

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

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


Writing a winning proposal has always been an important part of sales. In recent years it has become vital. But many companies are still cranking out confusing, unpersuasive proposals and RFPs - few of which result in new clients or contracts.

Now everyone can dramatically boost their success rate with the third edition of Persuasive Business Proposals. This classic guide explains how to craft compelling messages and powerful proposals that attract prospects' attention and speak to their needs. The new edition includes more valuable information than ever before, including:

Essential questions for qualifying opportunities

• Ways to "power up" cover letters and executive summaries

• Advice for overcoming "valueparanoia"

• Guidelines for incorporating proof into a proposal

• Tips for winning renewal contracts.

Most people find proposal writing to be tedious and time-consuming - and their documents show it. With clear instructions as well as before-and-after samples, Persuasive Business Proposals takes readers step-by-step through a highly effective process for writing customized packages that capture new business.


This edition of PERSUASIVE BUSINESS PROPOSALS has been thoroughly revised to reflect changes in the world of work that affect proposal writing and, more important, to incorporate lessons I have learned from working with some wonderful clients.

The basic principles of persuasion have remained consistent from the first edition onward, but thanks to insightful client feedback I have developed more effective ways to explain those principles. For example, the NOSE pattern that I present in Chapter 5 is an important instance of finding a simpler, more memorable way to communicate the key concept of persuasive structure. Likewise, the characterization of bad writing into the four categories of Fluff, Guff, Geek, and Weasel—an idea that I first presented in The Language of Success—has proved so popular in workshops and speeches that I decided to bring it to Persuasive Business Proposals, too.

The use of technology has exploded, moving us from the local area network to the cloud, and by collaborating with clients who are themselves at the forefront of information management I have learned how to use that technology to make the proposal writing task easier. I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with proposal experts at Microsoft, Cisco, CIBER, Booz Allen, Thomson Reuters, Qvidian, and other leading high-tech firms. Technology can transform the way we work, as evidenced by the rise of virtual proposal operations on a global scale in recent years. But technology can also exert new pressures on the bidding process and the proposal writer, too. I have tried to address these new realities in this edition.

Other clients have been wonderful partners in exploring new ways to maximize the effectiveness of their proposals in a business environment in which the proposal is critical. Among those clients I am particularly grateful to are Kaiser Permanente, ISS, Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas Real Estate, and Rabobank.

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