Monthly Archives: June 2011

Tips for Writing a Proposal

A request for a proposal is a crucial step in the sales cycle. It creates the change to get one step closer to a customer and a new project or deal. But writing a proposal is not easy.

Proposals come in many sizes and shapes, depending on the organization that asks for one. In some cases, it is better to avoid a formal proposal and opt for sending a letter outlining the products and services to be offered.

 Following are some tips for writing a professional proposal.

Create a powerful, but concise executive  summary

In many cases, the customer just wants to see a short overview of deliverables with prices.

Focus on results

Customers are far more interested in the deliverables than in methodologies or processes. Quite bluntly, they just want the job to be done; how it is done is of secondary importance.

Showcase ideas

Customers want to cooperate with a business partner they can trust. To show that you are not only on the same wavelength, but also want to be their partner, share ideas that can help them.

Make sure it has quality

As in many cases, it is the quality, not the quantity that counts. Limit the amount of pages, and make sure the proposal is about the customer. Focus on how you are going to solve the customer’s problems.

Be careful with jargon

Terms such as “best practices”, “outstanding practices”, innovative solutions”, “and
out-of-the-box thinking”,”top-notch and best-of-breed” are overused and are
considered to be marketing hype. Try to use clear language and simple terms; it
will avoid misunderstandings and future complications.

Make sure its accurate

The proposal must be accurate, so make sure to validate and double-check all data before presenting it. Check every small proposal detail and watch for typos and style mistakes.

Delivering your proposal

Make sure that the right people receive the proposal on time. You can submit it by email or hand it over in person. The latter guarantees you a higher change of closing the deal.

(Image courtesy of Geldlening Offerte)

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Why There is a Need for Technical Writers

Almost every organization needs technical writing due to the need for user guides, instruction manuals, quick guides, user manuals, white papers, product documentation, training materials, etc.

Since technical writing has become essential part of today’s business and government, jobs can be found in almost any industry sector.  The demand for technical writers is expected to grow, since enterprises need to communicate existing and new scientific and technical information to others.

Many technical writers prefer to specialize in a specific industry such as telecommunications, computers, bio-tech, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, health care, or manufacturing. This way, they can build expertise in e.g., software documentation, tutorials, white papers, or user guides.

Technical writing is as diverse and there is an overlap with marketing writing. Product instructions, reference and maintenance manuals, articles, project proposals, training materials, technical reports, catalogs, brochures, online documentation and help systems, Web pages, multimedia presentations, parts lists, assembly instructions, white papers, sales promotion materials, tenders, RFI and RFP, and tech blogs require the skills of technical writers.

Technical writers enable enterprises to tell their users how to use their products and services. Those users can be consumers, system integrators, resellers, scientists, engineers, plant executives, line workers, production managers, but also product reviewers, tech journalists, and tech bloggers.

Technical writing is different from marketing writing. Technical writing describes the current situation; marketing writing also covers what will be. The writing style between the two is therefore very different. Good technical writing is concise and easy-to-read. In many cases, technical writers are also expected to deal with the graphics, layout, and document design.

Thinking of becoming a technical writer? Then look for a technical writing course near you. It normally also includes an internship to get hands-on working experience.

(Cartoon courtesy of Scott Adams)

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