Tear it up and start again! Why GREAT proposal writing requires a publisher’s eye PART 1

“This is me. In my natural habitat.”

The above video shows a man going against the grain.

For too long, the art of CV writing has been set in stone. Despite wanting to stand out as much as possible, job seekers tend not to give the format of their employability pitch a second thought. Graeme Anthony’s interactive video CV is a rejection of everything we thought we knew about the format, conveying the information in an engaging, clear, and stand-out way.

The sales equivalent is the proposal.

The proposal is far, far too often treated as a formality and not, as Graeme Anthony may see it, an opportunity.

So how do you set about writing a winning proposal?

The proposal stage will commonly come towards the end of your sales cycle. First comes prospecting and connecting, then needs and challenges are discussed within a pitch or via continued discussions. Generally, the process then moves towards the construction of a proposal – the distillation of everything you both have covered and discussed in the weeks or months leading up to this point.

After many years in sales training, the impression I’ve formed is that the majority of selling professionals let themselves down at this stage – and I’ll tell you why.

For one, the final proposal document is passed around too many people across too many departments. If your target client has bought into YOU and YOUR style, why should this point of the sales cycle involve a load of different people from all four corners of the business?

Too many cooks (in the proposal process) spoil the broth. All of these influences serve only to pull in different directions and produce an inconsistent, disjointed and, more importantly, unnatural, final product.

The more it’s passed around the more its personality is diluted. Sections can be copied and pasted in different fonts; oversized logos can throw formatting out of whack; and the continuum of the content of the entire piece can be broken by miscommunication between contributors. A proposal is a single project, and the process must be respected in the same way.

Furthermore, the presentation and engagement of the proposal is undervalued, often ignored by too many companies. To make sure you are coming at a proposal with the right state of mind, why not…

…think like a publisher

When editorial teams put together their latest publication, whether it is a magazine or newspaper, they must consider how layout, language and content will impact the reader. Will it excite, inform and engage or will it be left to gather dust at the bottom of the drawer?

This is the kind of questioning and pressure that the top sales professionals heap onto themselves when they write ‘great’ proposals.

In PART 2 of this blog you will be able to find out why great proposals require a publisher’s eye and get practical advice on style and proposal follow-up. Don’t miss it…

For now, you can get in touch with the sales training experts at Natural Training to discuss your sales strategy for 2013. Call us on 0207 043 1582 or email

Remember, the Natural Sales Evolution is in stock with Amazon!  Feel free to go online to order – you will have your new book in a day or two, just CLICK HERE.

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