Repetition: Making Prospects Remember Your Key Messages

Think about your most recent proposal or presentation. Did you use clear, simple messaging? Great. Did you limit your focus to the three (plus or minus one) main benefits your service/product will provide to your prospect? Even better. Did your prospect remember them? Don’t be so sure. According to two studies at Indiana University, information […]
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Three Is a Magic Number (for Proposals and Presentations)

Chances are your organization has lots of compelling features and benefits. Most do. But when crafting a proposal or presentation, how many should you highlight for your prospect? Five? Ten? According to cognitive psychologists, it’s probably less than you think. That’s why this week, in continuing our discussion of simplicity, we’re examining your prospects’ short-term […]
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Four Reasons to Keep Your Content Simple

Your prospects are bombarded with persuasive messages—400 a day, according to psychologist Kevin Dutton. Moreover, research shows that 81 percent of those messages contain more written or verbal content than is necessary, encouraging audiences to tune out, gloss over, and move on. It’s time to streamline. So before allowing the kitchen sink to be tossed […]
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Five Tools for Averting Proposal Disaster

We all know that proper planning and communication can go a long way to preventing last-minute proposal chaos. But let’s be honest: Every proposal writer, no matter how prepared, has felt the stress of a down-to-the-wire proposal submission. It’s a terrible feeling, and according to a recent study from the University of Washington, that stress […]
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Seven Tips for Working with Subject Matter Experts

Marketing and proposal writers are used to overcoming obstacles. Shifting deadlines, fluctuating workloads, snarky executives, and poorly written Requests for Proposals: they’re just part of the job. But as we found in our recent business writing survey, one challenge continually stands above the rest—working with subject matter experts. That’s why this week we’re exploring seven […]
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PDFs Part Three: Five Time-Saving Tips for Proposals

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, many professional services firms are submitting more proposals and dedicating more time to their research, development, and customization. For instance, in the legal field, a recent NexisLexis® study found that 42 percent of firms have increased their proposal volume over the last 12 months; only 7 percent have decreased. While […]
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PDFs Part Two: Four Ways to Streamline Proposal Reviews

The draft review and approval process can be stressful for any proposal writer. You just spent days crafting a clear, compliant document, and now various senior executives and subject matter experts—many with only a basic understanding of Microsoft Word formatting and review functions—are wading through it. Time is short and deadlines are closing in. What […]
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PDFs Part One: Four Ways to Improve Electronic Proposals

Proposal professionals have long explored ways to optimize their hard copy submissions, from adjusting paper colors, tabs, and binding types to developing unique packaging materials. However, as many government and commercial organizations shift to electronic-only submission requirements, a new challenge has emerged: how to optimize a proposal file. That’s why this week we’re discussing four […]
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10 Downtime Activities for Proposal Writers

Proposal writing is time-consuming work, often with 16-hour days, nonexistent weekends, and deadline-driven chaos. Add in the effects of staffing shortages and industry fluctuations, and many writers have only occasional—and brief—lulls in workload. With idle time a rarity on most marketing and proposal teams, it’s critical that writers make the most of it. That’s why […]
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101 Bad Business Buzzwords (And Why to Avoid Them)

Today’s marketing and proposal materials are littered with important-sounding words that have no real value. Seamless, top-notch, world-class, laser-focused, and best of breed: we’ve all been guilty of using terms like these in place of meaningful descriptors. Unfortunately, buzzwords can seriously weaken your persuasive messaging and give an impression of insecurity. In fact, a 2010 […]
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