Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win More Customers, Clients, and Contracts / Edition 2

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With over 40,000 copies sold, the first edition of Persuasive Business Proposals helped many readers construct dynamic, effective proposals. Now in paperback, this fully-revised second edition still gives readers simple, effective techniques for organizing, writing, and delivering proposals while updating the author's winning strategies for today's global business environment.

By cutting through the confusion, and providing dozens of real-world examples, this updated version provides step-by-step instructions for crafting value-centered, recipient-specific proposal packages, with all-new discussions on:

* How to increase business using new communication channels from e-mail and electronic submissions to PDF, HTML, and others
* The Seven Worst Proposal Mistakes illustrated with real-world examples

This is an essential book for anyone seeking to win contracts and sell projects.

About the Author:
Tom Sant (San Luis Obispo, CA) is a world-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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Editorial Reviews

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.
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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814471531
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 12/26/2003
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.99 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (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 I: Why You Need This Book
1. The Challenges You Face
2. A Good Proposal Is Hard to Find

Section II: A Primer on Persuasion
3. Why the Intuit Hunt Whales and Other Secrets of Customer Behavior
4. The Structure of Persuasion
5. Developing a Client-Centered Message Every Time You Write
6. Understanding the Customer: The Cicero Principle
7. Establishing Your Credibility

Section III: How to Manage the Process and Keep Your Sanity
8. An Overview of the Proposal Development Process
9. Writing from the Right Brain: Getting Your Ideas Organized
10. Presenting a Winning Value Proposition
11. The Structure of the Letter Proposal
12. The Structure of the Formal Proposal
13. Writing Research Proposals and Proposals for Grants
14. Packaging Your Proposals for Success
15. Presenting Your Proposal
16. What to Do After You Submit
17. Writing in the Midst of a Storm: How to Deal with Bad News & Negative Publicity
18. Creating a Proposal Center of Excellence
19. Proposal Metrics — How to Measure Your Success
20. Automating the Process

Section IV: Writing to Win
21. Give the Reader a KISS!
22. Word Choice: Six Traps to Avoid
23: Sentence Structure: Maximizing Your Clarity
24. Editing Your Proposal
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  • 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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