Proposal Training Services

A skills-based training program that teaches your staff how to write proposals that are persuasive and compelling

Proposal Training: How to Write Persuasive Sales Proposals

 How to Write Persuasive Proposals is a full day proposal training class. It is designed primarily for businesses that write proposals in response to commercial RFPs and RFPs issued by state and local governments.

Our proposal training class teaches students how to accomplish three things.

Customer-focus. It’s not enough to say who you are and what you do, customers want to know what you’re going to do for them. They want to know how you’re going to use your knowledge, experience, and resources to deliver the outcomes they want.

Persuasiveness. It’s not enough to provide informational answers to RFP questions. Your answers must be persuasive. They must convince the buyer how the solution you are proposing is going to help them get what they want.

Differentiation. From a buyer’s perspective, it can be difficult to recognize the differences between vendors. That’s a problem for sellers. If you can’t clearly articulate why your solution is both different and better than what other vendors are offering, the buyer will simply choose the lowest price. The ability to effectively differentiate your solution is key to winning more business.

By the end of the first day, students will have a completely different perspective on how to write proposals. The proposals they write will be customer-focused, not seller focused; persuasively-structured, not just informational; and they will say clearly and unequivocally why your solution is both different and better than any solution your competitors are offering.

Class details & FAQ

At a glance

  • First day is interactive lecture.
  • Optional second day  writing workshop.
  • Up to ten students included in the base fee.
  • Focus is on persuasive writing skills, and how to differentiate from competing solutions.
  • Multiple configuration options.
  • Competitive pricing.
Our proposal training classes are taught by Dave Seibert. Dave is seen here speaking at the 2016 APMP conference in Boston.
Who should attend this proposal training class?

How to Write Persuasive Proposals is designed for all of your staff involved in writing and editing proposals.

  • Proposal writing staff
  • Subject matter experts
  • Salespeople and business development professionals
  • Managers and decision makers, etc.

We always teach the same basic message–be customer focused and persuasive–but we customize our delivery based on the makeup of the audience.

Is the class skills-based? Or does it teach a whole new methodology?

This class is skills-based.

Unlike some proposal training programs that are more focused on teaching complex processes or methodologies, our program is focused on teaching your staff the skills to write compelling, customer-focused proposals.

By the end of the day, your staff will know how to write proposals that are customer-focused (instead of sell-focused), persuasive (instead of informational), and that differentiate your solution from competing solutions (instead of blending in with the competition).

What is the agenda?

Our one day proposal training class is organized into five major sections.  

1. Evaluating your proposals

Prior to the class, we ask students to spend an hour using a “proposal report card” to evaluate one of your recent proposals against a series of best practices. This assignment encourages students to being thinking about industry best practices within the context of the proposals they write.

At the beginning of class, we discuss their findings. Based on our experience, this step improves adoption of proposal best practices because it gives students the opportunity to conclude, on their own, that some of their existing practices could be improved.

2. Understanding persuasion

Writing a proposal is not a writing project, it’s a sales process, and it needs to be treated like one. Therefore, the proposals we write must be persuasive and compelling. This part of the proposal training class teaches students the fundamental concepts that underlie persuasive communication, the different kinds of evidence that can be used to support your persuasive arguments, and more. Ultimately, this segment of the class teaches students how to think persuasively so, later, they’re better prepared to write persuasively. 

3. Proposal strategy

Before a writer begins writing, it’s important to figure out what to say. This portion of the proposal training class teaches students to analyze the opportunity, the RFP, and the customer’s needs. Then students are taught the process for configuring their own customer-focused sales message–all before they begin drafting proposal content.

4. Writing your proposal

This section of our propopsal training class, which consumes about half the day, teaches students how to draft the various sections of a proposal, including the cover letter, executive introduction, customer references, employee resumes, answers to questions, company histories, and more. Students learn how to write all of this proposal content persuasively, in a way that is entirely customer-focused, and in a manner that differentiates your company from competing vendors.

5. Coordinating your presentation with your proposal

Once you make it to the short list, it is important that your presentation is coordinated with your proposal. This portion of the program shows you how.

How long is the proposal training class?

How to Write Persuasive Sales Proposals is available in a one day or two day format.

The first day of our proposal training program is primarily interactive lecture and discussion. We discuss how to communicate persuasively, how to develop a strategic sales message before we begin writing, how to write the various sections, and more. This portion of the class includes a comprehensive workbook that includes all of the material and lessons presented in class, plus lots of examples.

The optional second day is a writing workshop. The proposal writing workshop gives students the opportunity to begin practicing what they learned in class while the instructor is still on premises. This is important. Changing behavior requires more than just hearing or reading about something, it requires putting the new behavior into practice. The workshop is an effective wasy to jumpstart this effort.

What's included?

Everyone who attends the our proposal training program receives two tools, a Proposal Report Card tool and a class workbook.

The Proposal Report Card is a handy tool that gives students an easy way to quickly evaluate the effectiveness of their proposals. We use it as a pre-class homework assignment, but it’s something students can continue to use to reinforce best practices even after the class is over.

Each student also receives a comprehensive workbook. The workbook includes all of the relevant slides that are discussed in the proposal training class, along with numerous explanations and proposal examples. These examples make it easy for students to review class material and see how it is applied–even weeks or months after the class is completed.

Is the class customized for us? Or one-size-fits-all?

Every proposal training class we teach is customized for each client. Customization takes three forms.

1. Customizing the class to address your objectives

Prior to each training engagement, we talk with you, review your proposals, and in general, work to understand your unique issues, challenges, and objectives. With this background, we then configure the class to meet your needs. For example, if your biggest challenge is differentiation in a competitive market, we spend more time investigating ways to accomplish that.

2. Customizing the class for the audience

While the underlying themes and messages never change, our delivery changes based on the makeup of the audience. If we’re teaching to proposal staff, for example, we might spend more time on process. If we’re teaching to subject matter experts, in contrast, we might spend more time talking about how to “translate” technical information into proposal content your buyers can understand.

3. Using your own proposal verbiage for examples

The third way we customize the class is by incorporating your own content into lessons. For example, we take selected answers from your previously written proposals and then rewrite them. Then we present these rewritten answers in a before-and-after type format. This approach is a highly effective teaching approach because it puts the lesson into a context they can relate to.

Unlike some trainers that teach the same program to everyone, this level of customization produces better outcomes.

How much does all of this cost?

We offer a range of pricing options to make our proposal training program cost effective for our clients. One day or two, onsite or online, one-on-one coaching time plus follow-up “reinforcement” days, etc. You decide what you want and we’ll price it to make it work for you.

Regardless of how you configure it, our customers tell us our course fees are among the most competitive in the industry.

Hear what past attendees are saying...

I highly recommend Dave Seibert’s work and the Proposal Training Course he teaches. I found the proposal class SO informative and the information presented doesn’t just apply to proposal preparation. After completing the proposal course and meeting Dave, you will find you actually re-think everything you write or prepare from proposals to presentations, letters, and even daily emails.

The workbook was a great tool…

The examples [in the workbook] were excellent.

The proposal training workbook was fantastic.

The afternoon workshop session was extremely helpful and enjoyable. I really like that it was organized the way it was. One of the better presentations I’ve been too-good job!

The speaker’s easy going style and his breadth of knowledge about sales and RFPs made this one of the single most effective training I’ve received in this area…

The proposal training class was excellent! Dave really provided some extremely useful information, tips, and suggestions… It will completely shift the way we do things in the future. I would recommend the class to anyone that has to write business proposals.

Learn more about our proposal training options.

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