Anyone who has reviewed a set of proposals knows that this process is extremely tedious.  Often, the proposals all look alike and say more or less the same thing.  It is hard to differentiate among the candidates.  It is hard to remember who said what.

“In order to stand out and win in the RPF process, you need to remember that the client can only remember three things about each candidate,” said Darling.  “These are your ‘takeaways.’  They must differentiate you and also be something that the client cares about.

“I call these ‘win themes,’” said Darling.  “You want to stay on your win themes just like a politician stays ‘on message’ or an advertiser consistently repeats its tagline.  By using win themes, you what the potential client remembers.”

Distill your “win themes” into short and simple concepts.  While taking care to be natural, repeat these concepts throughout the proposal in both graphics and text.  Use them to organize content into sections.  Use them as headlines, subheads, breakout quotes or even shaded background on a page.

“Obviously, it takes a lot of work to create a truly persuasive and differentiating ‘sales’ proposal that will help you stand out from the crowd and win new legal work,” said Darling.

“Even if you do not win the work, however, this effort may not be wasted,” said Darling.  “Most clients will hang on to your proposal.  They will keep it on hand ‘just in case’ they need legal services in the future – especially if your proposal left a good impression.  Because proposals have such a long ‘shelf life,’ make the extra effort to ensure they look good and read well – today and in the future.”

This is part seven of a seven-part article.  For the entire article:


RFPs:  To play or not to play, that is the question