By Goke Ilesanmi
Persuasion can be variedly defined. At one level of definition, it is conceived as the process by which a communicator tries to influence the attitudes, values, belief system, or action of his listener(s) or audience. In other words, persuasion involves motivating the audience through the power of communication to voluntarily change their beliefs, values or behaviour.
Persuasion can also be defined as a form of influence employed by the communicator when his audience has the freedom of making a choice, whether commercial, social or political, among available options. The good news is that ability to successfully persuade others to align with your view is a skill that can be developed through training and practice.
Experience shows that many people approach persuasion in a way that makes it difficult for them to achieve success. The beginning of successful persuasion is to build trust and credibility so that you can be accorded attention by your audience. In business, lack of persuasive skills leads de-marketing even when the modern language of competition is “Co-opetition”, a blended word realised from the structural and conceptual fusion of the words “Cooperation” and “Competition”.
One of the ways of enhancing your business by winning big and profitable business is through effective and persuasive business proposals. If your service or product is the best in your industry, you need to communicate your uniqueness to the target customers in a way that relates to the specific needs of such customers. Proposals also help you explain financial terms and procedures to your prospective customers to avoid misunderstanding down the road. Complete proposals offer details and help you land great contracts.
An effective and persuasive business proposal clearly identifies the consumers’ problem, need or issue, and recommends a solution. It backs up your proposed solution with a discussion of the capabilities of your business as well as market research related to the proposal. It shows that your experience puts you ahead of the competition.
The way you present your business in this proposal will shape the success or failure of all future relationships with target buyers. To earn their respect and attention, your proposal must show that you have a keen understanding of the prospective customers’ needs.
You need to focus on the fact that your business is very well-equipped to handle their needs in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Therefore, make the time investment—conduct research to have full understanding of the nature and scope of the customers’ requirements, then, present your ideas in a manner that convinces them that your product or service represents the best possible solution.
Though writing an effective and persuasive business proposal is challenging, you have to consider the valuable benefits for your business. The effort you make in tailoring the proposals to prospects’ specific needs shows the level of service they will receive from you. And your prospects or target customers are bound to notice that extra effort.
To get started with your personalised proposal, you will need to understand the basic formats and components. Before you write, determine what the overall message of your proposal will be. Stating the theme or the reason for the proposal helps to ensure that your proposal will be sent to the appropriate personnel.
The theme should be one of the first things that your prospect sees. This is not a headline whose purpose is to entertain, but a description that clearly persuades the prospect regarding the reason for the proposal. An appropriate theme will describe how your product (or service) will enable the client to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Or better still, it must communicate benefits to the prospect or recipient.
In seeking contracts, for instance, you win business when your proposal persuades clients or prospects that your solution is superior to your competitors’. Your proposal will persuade the reader if you understand a client’s or prospect’s needs, show the benefits, make a firm, clear recommendations accompanied by action steps and give the reader technical and other supporting details that highlight your qualifications and competence to deliver the solution on time, on budget and to specification.
The effectiveness of a proposal is not judged by its volume but based solely on the value you bring to the table. When you do your initial presentation, that is part of your proposal. When you meet your prospects for the first time, shake hands and talk, that is part of the proposal. When you start listening and asking questions, that is part of the proposal.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
The task of responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP) is daunting. Apart from the pressure of getting the best proposal in on time, defining an effective approach to the response poses several challenges. For example, the various proposal team members may argue that their respective contributions are worth the most attention. But you need to assimilate each contribution into the final document from the customer’s perspective.
You need to avoid a situation whereby the final proposal is bidder-focused. Rather focus on benefits to the prospect, client or recipient.
Finally, through effective and persuasive business proposals, you will enhance your business, achieve profitability and stay ahead of competition.
PS: For those making inquiries about our Public Speaking, Business Presentation and Professional Writing Skills training programmes, please visit the website indicated on this page for details.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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