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

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

by Tom Sant

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

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 "value paranoia" * 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814417850
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 04/30/2012
Edition description: Third Edition
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 555,215
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

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.

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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