I would encourage accounting and law professionals to shift their focus away from proposals and more onto the pre-proposal activities like carefully selecting the engagement teams members based on trying to foster rapport with the decision-makers, proper research on the prospects and all that good stuff.
But I get asked about crafting winning proposals often and I hear that! I would encourage that you try NOT to mimic anyone else’s proposals – most accounting firm’s proposals already look and read similarly – and, after all, your goal is to have this document help you to stand out from the crowd, right? Here is a great tip:
Start off with the accomplishments that you have for other clients just like them. Your first page could read “Experience and Resources Available to (insert company name). These should be bulleted, concise success stories that you have performed on behalf of your clients – see below:
• Worked with a start-up consumer finance company to produce compliant financial statements to attract investors, obtain financing, and raising additional equity; this company doubled its business in 3 years
• Facilitated an independent cost allocation study at the request of a regulatory agency on behalf of a Labor Union which satisfied the regulator, and resulted in the Labor Union avoiding fees estimated at $5,000 (which would have been personally paid by the Officers of the Plan)
You should create and maintain a library of these accomplishments sorted by service and industry for use in proposals, brochures and bios. They can be re-ordered based on the specific needs/concerns of the prospective client.
Starting off by answering the question, “What Can You Do for ME?” draws the reader of the proposal in – and will help your proposal stand out from your competitors.