I attended a seminar recently called WINNING PROPOSALS. If there is an area of business that requires optimistic thinking, this is it. A lot of focus is on avoiding elimination. People are going to be looking for losers first. If you don’t get your response in on time – you are out. If you don’t answer all the questions – you are out. If you don’t meet all the criteria – you are out. You need to be a good fit or you are out.

It is the brutal reality of a buyer’s market. You need to think about winning strategies for putting your best foot forward. The best outcome might be making the short list. You still might miss the mark. But you must keep your chin up and always know that victory is possible.

Before you put yourself, your team and your company through a process like this, you need to take the time up-front to plan your strategy. After all is said and done, your proposal needs to match what is called for and still be relevant and compelling to the readers, the ultimate decision makers.

All this being said, you have to look on the bright side. You should feel fortunate to be in a position to be considered for an opportunity. A careful response to such a proposal will help you and your organization understand the unique selling proposition you offer. Find that differentiation that makes you the best choice and reinforce it with a well crafted response and you could very well find yourself in the winners’ circle.
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” - Mark Twain
Twain reminds us that it might take extra time and effort to edit our proposals to be more concise, targeted and to the point. Winning takes confidence. Be careful with your choice of words and you will win – not every time – but more often than not.

Think like a winner. Prepare. Identy that which separates you from the crowd. Fine tune your message. Be gracious: win, lose or draw. Be happy you had a chance and proud of your best efforts. Learn something from each experience.\

Optimist contributor Wes Morgan: originally posted March 29, 2011