Persuasive Writing Tips for Proposals
When clients approach us to provide consulting services, we are often requested to assist with writing. It is not a skill many people are comfortable with. There are often a range of different technical and sector experts developing different sections of the bid, and it can be tricky to keep the document aligned.
Below is a list of our top 5 tips for writing a persuasive document, aimed at helping the prospect to understand the offer or opportunity you’re hoping they will accept.
#1. Write for your audience.
Develop your content with the audience in mind. Make your language customer centric. Instead of saying “We develop pillows that help people with sore necks” write “Your neck will feel considerably better on the right pillow”. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what you would be looking to hear if you wanted to buy this product or service. Consider their problems and how you can solve them. Show them that you understand them.
#2. Avoid technical jargon.
Never assume your full audience holds the same technical knowledge as you. Simplify technical jargon and processes. Assume that at least one person in the audience is not qualified in the same field as you, and write in easily understood terms.
If you’re trying to sell a jet engine to your prospect, ask yourself how much detail they really need. They don’t need the operators manual in the proposal. They need to understand why it is the right solution for them. You can use appendices if you desperately need to provide technical information, but assume that at least one person on the receiving end of this proposal does not have any knowledge of how jet engines work. They simply want to know if they should trust YOU to know.
#3. Build credibility.
The best way to build credibility is through evidence. There are many types of evidence you can use to build credibility – case studies, quotes and testimonials from trusted clients, facts, figures and statistics. If the story requires it, tell both sides. Explain what the concerns or issues might be, and then rebut them.
#4. Use active language.
Make your audience picture the scenario you’re presenting. Active language helps to bring the audience into the scenario, for instance – rather than suggesting that something “is standard practice”, or “can be implemented”, outline how something is currently done “we use a digital method to extract”.
Put some skin in the game. Tell them what you will save for them. Make a promise that is achievable, but better than they have now. This might be an offer to save them money, deliver increased outcomes, to introduce new operating or process models, or to provide added value in other ways. Make it measurable, and commit.