How does your proposal pass the first screening?

The customer wants a solution that will best fulfil their needs. The one with the highest value. But how does the customer decide which solution that is? A customer often lacks the experience to select the best proposal from all the options. In this blog, we elaborate on those to give you insight in how to implement them in your proposals. There are certain techniques and tricks you can use.


A customer will ask themselves if they are already familiar with the brand or product. A familiar brand is a trusted choice. Imagine you want to buy an excavator for the first time. Would you have more confidence in a brand you know or in a cheaper option like Alibaba? Right, you’re likely to choose the brand you know. The need for familiarity emphasizes the importance of all the efforts you make in the customer journey and the touch points before entering the proposal phase. It shows how crucial it is for your proposal to align with the image you have previously established: in texts, design, photos, etc.

The first Impression

Especially when multiple proposals are requested, an initial screening will take place. The customer will screen the proposals on various aspects, like how it looks, if there are any noticeable details and how professional it looks. They are also likely to look for personalised elements. Like incorporating the customer’s name throughout the proposal. This will show you have paid attention and made an effort with the proposal. Once, a director who had just chosen Winning Proposal wanted to test the necessity of the first impression himself, Once, a director who had just chosen Winning Proposal wanted to test the necessity of the first impression himself, even before his salespeople started using it. He had received a request from a company he had been chasing for a long time. During our visit, we went through the demo together. The director created a proposal in Winning Proposal using the given demo and sent it to the company he eagerly wanted as a client. During our demo conversation, he received a call. They wanted to know if they always paid so much attention to their proposals because that was exactly what they were missing now. Of course, he answered yes and with that a new customer was added to their customer portfolio!

Expected Value

A question customers ask themselves a lot is: ‘What value can I expect if I choose this company?’ The value they are looking for can be related to a strategic goal, such as assisting in the sustainability policy, compliance, or innovation. Or it can be a tactical goal: more efficiency, delivery reliability, employee satisfaction, etc. Depending on what you can provide, express the added value in terms of money or in qualitative result. Such as percentage increase in delivery reliability or a higher quantitative output. It can also be a combination of values. Because these can be used as a screening requirement, it’s important to present these values at the beginning of your proposal. In Winning Proposal, we do this in a Management Summary or in a presentation of the key benefits or Unique Buying Reasons. This way, we make sure that the proposal passes through the initial screening and provides a trigger to continue reading.

The more, the better. The chance for an initial screening is precisely why you should never copy and paste a proposal from previous proposals. The customer can immediately see that it’s a standard proposal, even if it’s comprised of several proposals. They will notice the different writing styles and sometimes even the formatting is off. You might even make the mistake of letting the name of the previous customer in the proposal. If that happens, you can forget turning them into your customer. Research even shows that this is the main reason for prospects to drop out. Because the customer will feel like that there is no attention for them and that they don’t matter. 

Another mistake you should always avoid: misspelling the name of the company or the contact person. If this happens, turning the prospect into a customer will be out of the question. Remember that copying is not acceptable because you can never provide the unique value that the customer values, which will make you fade into the masses of proposals.

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Do you also want to discover how our proposal solution can help you achieve more sales success? Request a demo now and let us convince you of the power of our solution.