How to create winning marketing proposals

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How to create winning marketing proposals

For many small business, the difference between winning lucrative contracts or bids and repeatedly losing to competitors lies in your ability to create effective marketing proposals. Most successful entrepreneurs made their breakthroughs after successfully convincing business partners, suppliers or customers through “irresistable” proposals. How can you convince any prospect that you are the right person for the contract?

Here are five tips to help you create winning proposals every time:

a) Show that you are qualified for the job by providing honest, easily understood information about your background, experience, your strengths and intentions. (Sometimes, especially when you are just starting your business, you may not have traceable references. Overcome this by offering to do the work to friends / family etc for a low fee or even for free, so as to build up on experience)

b) Set clear expectations that both parties can understand with results that can be measured. Be as detailed as possible to ensure that you and the prospect have a shared vision of what you are proposing. If you are responding to a request for proposal (RFP), show your thoroughness by specifically addressing each individual requirement. If you are unclear about any requirement, get more information so that you can include appropriate data instead of vague generalities.

c) In every proposal encourage feedback from your prospective client, and explain that you are willing to listen and modify plans, as needed, to make the project successful for everyone.

d) Show your ability to complete the project by explaining how and by whom the process will be accomplished. Describe the resources that you will employ for the project, such as equipment, experienced personnel or financial backing.

e) Be accountable. We are more likely to trust others who hold themselves accountablee for their actions. Describe what you will do if wrongs need to righted or the process needs to be changed. You might offer a guarantee of satisfactionor a warranty to fix any defects. Reduce the risk to the prospect and they will be more likely to want to work with you.

More detailed tips on writing proposals and other issues useful to SMEs and entrepreneurs are available at Please email me your feedback, comments or questions on business and entrepreneurship.


SME BusinessLink in partnership with the Zimbabwe Agricultural Competitiveness Program and with the assistance of USAID has put in place some special training programs running from 23 August and designed to empower Owners and Managers of growing businesses in the Agro-industry value chain with essential business skills to help them eliminate obstacles to competitiveness and growth. If you are in this sector sector don’t miss this opportunity but you need to apply early as space is very limited.Details are available at

or send me an email for an application form. Women entrepreneurs are especially encouraged to apply.


Want to learn how to write effective business plans? You may purchase the handbook Business Planning Simplified for only $18 during August (normal price $24). Or you may attend one of the Business Plan writing classes. Next classes are on Wednesday 17 August and Saturday 20 August from 0900 to 1200. Please book early. Price $20. Please call Christine on 0772 854 301 to book or to order the handbook.


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