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Powerful Proposals

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Powerful Proposals

How to Give Your Business the Winning Edge


15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If you want to get the business, you have to submit a winning proposal. But there’s more to it than you think.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Writing a response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) may seem just like any other writing project, unless you know how technical and demanding the process can be. Successful proposals require a deliberate focused effort, especially when winning or losing a bid can mean corporate success or financial doom. David G. Pugh and Terry R. Bacon do a solid job of presenting the challenges and processes involved in drafting winning proposals. They explain what happens before and after a proposal is submitted and even provide excerpts from winning proposals, timetables, review questions and team task assignments. The material is so solid that you’ll wish for more war stories, but that omission does not detract from this valuable book. You’ll find it highly useful for people and teams who want to write proposals that bring home the Bacon (and Pugh).


Winning proposals offer solutions, provide facts, cover details and display an understanding of the customer.

People who write proposals don’t get enough respect. The entire proposal process is one of the least understood, most important parts of business development. Properly researched, written and executed proposals can close the sales process by securing the work up to the final contract signing. But how do you write power proposals?

Proposals, which are usually solicited through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, require researching the customer’s needs. Your proposals should be enlightening, show insights into the customer’s business and make recommendations that align with the potential client. One client said he selected a bid because the proposal reflected his concerns and thoughts. To make a proposal this powerful:

  • Present the proposal as a solution – Your solution should shed new light on the problem. It should bridge the gap between the bidder (the outsider) and the client. It can tell a story, demonstrate professionalism and show you understand the client’s business and concerns.
  • Provide all the facts

About the Authors

David G. Pugh and Terry R. Bacon are co-authors of Winning Behavior and The Behavior Advantage, and co-founders of Lore International Institute, an executive and professional development firm. Pugh also wrote Proposing to Win. Bacon is the author of Selling to Major Accounts, Adaptive Coaching, Leadership Through Influence, High Impact Facilitation and other books on leadership and interpersonal skills. 

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