The Three Rs of Proposal Writing

Government end users hate risks and love risk avoidance. So think risks, risks, and risks when preparing the outline of your approach to the customer solution. End users have the following types of questions in mind when evaluating proposals:

  • Will they deliver the basic contract deliverable?
  • How can they fail and what are they proposing to avoid failure?
  • Will the public see the results of the work and will they feed back positive or negative comments, e.g., negative experiences with call center operators?
  • Will stake holders see the results and will they feed back positive or negative comments, e.g., what did they think of help desk services?
  • What will go in my file if they are successful?
  • What will go in my file if they fail partially or completely?
  • Is their solution too advanced and more than we need?
  • Can they meet the contract time-lines?
  • What is the factual evidence that they will perform?
  • Do they really understand my problem?

Use a risk avoidance approach in stressing specific aspects of you approach--the ones that are critical to success. Don't write a tome on the wonderful reports you are going to produce and not stress specific design features that are the core of a successful solution. Make the customer feel confident that you understand the critical risks and have the answers to avoid the risks.

Stressing risk avoidance is easier said than done and that's where the creativity in proposal writing comes into play.

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