Whether truth or myth, the story goes that the famous architect Philip Johnson once answered an RFP with the shortest response possible.
His winning proposal simply said, "I'll do it."
Too bad we all can't rely on this simple approach to writing proposals that win new business. But, you can do more to make your investment in time and effort pay off by turning your proposals into the strategic selling tools they're meant to be.
Imagine a couple of common scenarios - an important RFP has just landed in your in-box. Or, an important client has just asked you for a proposal that will significantly expand the amount work you do for them. Do you...
...tangle yourself in boilerplate language that you've recycled from a past proposal?
...jump in without a clear content strategy?
...suffocate your language with esoteric terms that the client can't relate to?
If any of this sounds familiar, you might want to check out my recent guest column on Agency Post. I've noticed that ad agencies get into some bad habits that, if broken, would make proposals not only easier to write but also more effective at what they’re meant to do - win you more business.
Last month, I lost an ally in my quest to eradicate jargon and wordiness from ad agency pitch documents (not to mention emails, client reports, briefings and marketing copy).
William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, a beloved guide for non-fiction writers since its publication in 1976, died at age 92.
He was a constant inspiration as we developed Persuasive Writing for New Business, a workshop that teaches ad agencies how to use simple, clear language to communicate their value to prospects, clients and others.