When I am not consulting or writing proposals, I sing and write songs. I also love watching TV song competitions, to see folks expressing themselves through music. Recently I saw an episode of NBC’s The Voice and was entirely taken away by Kyla Jade with her cover of “This is me.”

Technically, the performance was not perfect. However, Ms. Jade connected powerfully with her audience, both in the theatre and through the TV. Each person watching felt she was singing directly to them and sharing her passion for the music. The performance took her from a “maybe” to a contender to win the competition. It reminded me of what it takes to create a winning proposal or powerful presentation. Why?

A proposal consists of three core components – compliancy, the technical solution, and showing “why us.” Too often, we focus on compliancyor the technical requirements. So we throw in standard marketing language and think it connects. But everyone submitting will likely all meet the requirements – or at least very close. Why should YOU get the job over the others who are equally qualified?

The “why us” needs to connect directly to the client – so they feel we are singing directly to them. The “why us” needs to be honest, specific, and direct. As one client once said when selecting my team’s proposal, “I felt you were talking directly to me.” Here are some examples of what that looks like:

“We share your vision as environmental stewards, providing exemplary water quality to the community. The demands on that responsibility can be daunting and call for a high level of capabilities and experience. Expanding the skills beyond typical water resources is not an option but a necessity to truly develop sustainability into our environment.”

“CLIENT will have a local partner that understands where you’ve been combined with national resources to make your program a community and national model.”

“Our award winning concepts from projects across the country, such as the EXAMPLE, will keep CLIENT at the forefront of environmental stewardship.”

On your next proposal, focus on the “why us” first and communicate directly and honestlyabout your company’s passion for what you do. That will make you a winner!

Photo by Bogomil Mihaylov