Client Focused Proposals

In a previous post, we talked about the importance of evidence. Another critical factor to focus on with your proposals, tenders and sales documentation is “Client Focus”. Remember that proposals are not about you; they are about your client.

“The sole reason we are in business is to make life less difficult for our clients.”
– Matt Odgers

A common mistake companies make when writing a proposal is focusing too much on themselves and their qualities without demonstrating why those things matter to their clients. Ask yourself: What is your client’s problem, need, issue or opportunity? If you don’t know, it’s tough to design a solution that addresses it. This would be a strong indication that you might need to invest a bit more time in the business development phase by understanding your client and their needs before responding to an opportunity. 

When writing your next proposal, try a client-centric approach by considering the following:

Mentioning your client more 

Make sure you mention your client’s name 3 TIMES MORE than your own. If you go on and on about yourself too much, they won’t see what’s in it for them and will move on to the next proposal that ‘speaks to them’. An easy way to do this is by removing your company name and putting “we” or “us” in its place.

Address your client’s needs 

Structure your Executive Summary or answers to questions to focus on:

1. The client’s needs

2. How your solution meets the client’s need

3. Add supporting evidence or proof

This helps you avoid discussing yourself or your solution first and keeps you focused on the client.

What are their goals? 

Having a clear understanding of your client’s goals when planning your response places you in a position of strength that gives you an immense advantage over your competitors. These goals typically pertain to three broad categories:

  • Business goals: These discuss how to increase productivity and efficiency, automate business processes, streamline operations, leverage product lines etc. 
  • Technical goals: Includes aligning business and technical processes, quality assurance or improvement, enhancement of products or utilizing emerging technologies. 
  • Strategic goals: Include issues such as HR strategies, building brand recognition, mandatory government legislation, and marketing drives.


Pro tip: Visit their website and download the most recent annual report. This will often give you an overview of the long-term objectives they wish to achieve, for example, business expansion, new product lines, and references to competitive threats. Knowing this can give you an inside perspective into their strategic business drivers.

Is it action-oriented? 

Making the recipient feel compelled to take action is crucial when writing a proposal. This is known as providing a “call-to-action” in sales. Your business proposal must be clear in its intent and desired results, urging the reader to award the bid.

Is it measurable?

Your client will often assess your proposal based on its compliance with important evaluation criteria. You should ensure that the proposal details how you can fulfil any requirements specified in the RFP. You may want to establish an evaluation checklist to assist in this process. Also, consider incorporating quotes, tables, and infographics to make it more accessible and foster engagement. Lastly, ensure that none of your checklists is missing or unclearly stated in your proposal, as many readers will focus intently on essential criteria.

Use client language 

Use the client’s language, not your language. Avoid complicated or industry-specific jargon and position things in a way the client will understand. 

Focusing on the points mentioned above will help make your client feel:

  • That you are focused on them.
  • You understand their needs, issues or requirements.
  • Your solutions solve their problems and will help them achieve their outcomes.
  • That you are a listening partner who is there to help them.

By focusing on your client, you’re taking an essential step toward ensuring the success of your proposals. You can connect with them by ensuring the content in your bid is relevant to your intended audience. And never forget – a solution is not a solution unless it meets a client’s need.

This article first appeared on the Australian Tenders website as we are an Australian Tenders partner and occasionally post on their site.

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