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How to Write Persuasive Business Proposals

Business proposals are written for one reason - to win business. In government contracting, you win business when your proposal persuades clients that your solution is superior to your competitors.

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How to Persuade the Reader

Your proposal will persuade the reader if you do four things:

1. Understand the client's need

You get the reader's attention by stating a specific need or problem and then explain how you can solve this. Client-centered proposals show how you understand their need. Show clients that you recognize their need. State it clearly.

Proposal Manager Toolkit - Cost Breakdown

2. Show the benefits

Show your understanding of the benefits they can expect. (Discuss the solution at a later stage.) Focus on how you can improve their productivity, profitability and success with the solution you’re offering.

To support your argument, explain the consequences of inaction or selecting inferior products. You'll establish credibility not so much by demonstrating your expertise, but by showing your understanding of their business needs.

Proposal Manager Toolkit - Clarifications

3. Recommendations

Make a firm, clear recommendation accompanied by action steps. Avoid vague statements. Make sure that the reader understands what you are proposing. Ask yourself - can they summarize in one sentence what you are proposing.
Recommend a specific approach or application:

"We recommend that the <Client> use your company to design, write and produce its corporate marketing brochure."

4. Back It Up With Details

Give the reader technical and other supporting details that highlight your qualifications and competence to deliver the solution on time, on budget and to specification. Demonstrate your credibility and ability to provide such a solution.

Discuss the issues, costs, schedules, risks, future implications. Always return to your key selling point and how your recommendations are presented in terms of a quantifiable benefit.


Give convincing reasons that the client should choose you over all others.

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