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Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win More Customers, Clients, and Contracts / Edition 3

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Persuasive Business Proposals, 3rd Ed — paperback jacket copy

Writing effective proposals is a vital skill for winning business in today’s economy. Now in a revised third edition packed with up-to-the-minute information and strategies, Persuasive Business Proposals provides you with powerful methods for crafting compelling messages and winning proposals that speak to your prospects’ needs and establish your firm’s strategic value. With clear instructions as well as before-and-after samples, this classic, bestselling guide shows you how to:

• Organize your content in the most persuasive way possible.

• Develop and deliver individually tailored, client-focused messages every time.

• Structure letters and formal proposals to present a winning value proposition that positions your firm as the ideal solution to clients’ needs.

• Follow up your proposal submission, analyze the client’s decision, and incorporate lessons learned to take better advantage of future opportunities.

Taking you step-by-step through a highly effective process for writing the kind of customized packages that capture new business, the third edition includes all-new ways to “power up” cover letters and executive summaries; advice for overcoming “value paranoia” ; essential questions for qualifying opportunities; guidelines for incorporating proof into a proposal; tips for winning renewal contracts; and much more.

You’ll learn how to boost the clarity of your writing, edit your proposal for optimal impact, and avoid the traps that can undermine even the strongest proposals. And you’ll learn effective strategies for dealing with automated procurement systems.

Your business has a lot to offer and it’s time to make sure your potential customers and clients know it! Packed with new information and invaluable strategies, this is the one guide you need to maximize the effectiveness of your proposals—and win more contracts.

TOM SANT is a well-known sales and proposal consultant, whose clients range from small entrepreneurial operations to Global 500 companies, including General Electric, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, and Accenture. He is the creator of the world’s most widely used proposal automation systems, ProposalMaster and RFPMaster. He lives in San Luis Obispo, California.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"…offers powerful methods for crafting compelling messages and winning proposals that speak to your prospects' needs and establish your firm's strategic value." --New Equipment Digest

Writing That Works
this book contains valuable advice for writers who have to sell either their organization’s or their department’s products and services. What’s more, Sant writes clearly and concisely, and his wry humor and use of real - and sometimes awful - examples adds to the readability. Use the book yourself or pass it on to departments that are writing bad proposals, and Sant assures readers most of them are
Dallas Morning News
a sturdy little book crammed full of suggestions, tips and templates. Mr. Sant lays it out step by step, holding readers' hands until they're comfortable committing to paper.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814417850
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 4/30/2012
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 256,200
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

TOM SANT is a renowned proposal consultant, whose clients range from small entrepreneurial operations to Global 500 companies, including General Electric, Microsoft, Lucent, and Accenture. He is the creator of the world’s most widely used proposal automation systems, ProposalMaster and RFPMaster.

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Read an Excerpt


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.

Excerpted from PERSUASIVE BUSINESS PROPOSALS, 3rd Edition by Tom Sant. Copyright © 2012 by Tom Sant. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents



Section One: Seven Deadly Sins

1: A Good Proposal Is Hard to Find…But It’s Worth Looking

2: Recognizing Reality

3: Rushing to the Exit

Section Two: A Primer on Persuasion

4: Understanding Persuasion

5: Winning by a NOSE: The Structure of Persuasion

6: Seven Magic Questions: How To Develop a Client-Centered Message

7: Why the Inuit Hunt Whales and Other Secrets ?of Customer Behavior

8: The Cicero Principle:How to Avoid Talking to Yourself in Print

9: Fluff, Guff, Geek, and Weasel: The Art of Saying What You Mean

10: Weaving Your Web: How to Pull It All Together Right from the Start

Section Three: The Art of the Part: Where to Put Your Effort

11: Letter Proposals

12: The Structure and Key Elements of Formal ?Proposals

13: Writing the Business Case

14: Recommending and Substantiating Your Solution

15: Persuasive Answers to RFP Questions

16: Presenting Evidence and Proving Your Points

17: Gathering and Tailoring Reusable Content

Section Four: How to Manage the Process Without Losing Your Sanity

18: Deal or No Deal?:Qualifying the Opportunity

19: An Overview of the Proposal Development Process

20: The Pursuit of Perfection: ?Editing Your Proposal

21: The Packaging Is Part of the Product

22: Presenting Your Proposal

23: Tracking Your Success

24: Creating a Proposal Center of Excellence

25: Special Challenges


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Customer Reviews

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( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2006

    Practical handbook about a crucial skil

    The managers of most corporations and nonprofits do not understand or appreciate the process of writing proposals and grants, yet developing this skill can be the gateway to winning large contracts and substantial funding. In his practical handbook, author Tom Sant demystifies this important task, providing details about almost every aspect of the process, both pre- and post-award. He elaborates upon the materials you should include and lists mistakes to avoid. This book seems to have a good handle on increasing your success rate if you bid on contracts or apply for philanthropic funding. Therefore, we recommend it to public- or private-sector managers who respond to Requests for Proposals (RFPs), write bids for contracts or prepare grant proposals.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2011

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    Posted September 10, 2013

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