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Don’t be DELIGHTED to open your proposal

Why you should never open your Executive Summary with “We are delighted to present our proposal” or (even worse) “We thank you for the opportunity to present…” 

So you open your Exec Summary by saying you’re delighted to present your proposal to this client. What does that say to them?  Firstly it says that this key part of your document – the primary opening statement targeted at the decision-makers – starts with you and how delighted YOU are. Why should the client care about YOU at this point? They want to hear what you’re going to do for THEM!  Not how you feel about bidding to them – which by the way only reminds them that they have the upper hand in this relationship and that you are the lowly SUPPLIER now imploring them to buy from you. Which is EXACTLY why you should never thank them for the opportunity to bid! Keep the power here: WHEN they realise the huge benefits of working with you, as documented in your proposal, THEY are the ones who should be delighted to have the opportunity to deal with you because their business will be better off in so many ways. Don’t demean your own proposition by opening the communication with obsequious thanks…

Secondly, saying you are delighted to present your proposal smacks of arrogance that here is the solution the client wants. Has a client ever accepted your proposal exactly as presented? Has every client been delighted at your price and never negotiated on it? The more they read through your proposal, the more they might focus on the negotiation that will need to take place to get to a compromise deal (including time, effort and potential stress on their part) – but every time they come back to your Exec Summary they are reminded that YOU are delighted with what you’ve presented them. Not so clever, really, is it?

Thirdly, if it’s a lengthy response and client evaluators are assessing the task ahead to wade through it, how do you think they’re going to react to reading that you’re delighted with what you’ve given them? Might they suspect you’re really just delighted to get it off your desk and on to theirs? If you’ve just emerged blinking into the daylight from an intensive bid cycle, that’s probably exactly how you feel, but the client won’t be delighted that you’ve transferred that feeling to them….

Why is it even worse to thank them for the “opportunity” to present your bid? We said earlier that it’s obsequious, but it could also be interpreted as sarcastic. Your client knows you will have put in lots of work to create your response – and they will have reminded you in their ITT that none of that time and effort can be charged to them in any way. Might it therefore sound slightly hollow, even sardonic, for you to thank them for giving you a chance to kettle your valuable staff in a bid room for weeks on end, feeding them only the occasional cheese-topped carbohydrate? You bet it might! When the client signs the contract, then you might thank them. In the proposal, no need at all. They should thank you.