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One Approach To Proposal Debriefs That You May Not Have Considered

Proposal Debriefs

Later this month, I’ll be giving out a book outlining the exact tactics some of the most successful firms in the world use to dominate the competition.

Last week, I shared one of my favorite excerpts from the book.

Today, I want to share another excerpt that illustrates an important point. While this book is largely about proposals, it also gives you the answers for everything from capture planning to presentations and debriefs. It’s really a total solution. And I can’t wait to share it with you.

But for now, here is another excerpt:

—Begin Book Excerpt—

One Approach To Client Debriefs

Put yourself in the client’s shoes. They want the best service or solution, but they’ll have no interest in giving you an unfair advantage over your competitors. Likely, your clients have debriefed many consulting firms and have established a common script they recite to losers. It’s not in their best interest to give one losing firm more information than another.

One approach is to come at them with open-ended questions they are not expecting. If you make them pause and think, you’ll either break them from their script or get them to admit there is someone else you should be talking to.

One good question to ask is, “If you could only point to one thing that set the winner apart, what would that be?” Another question you might ask is, “If there was one key area we came up short in, what would that be?”

Questions like that force them to think. When you force them to think, you’ll break them from the script. If they can’t answer these questions, you might ask them if there is someone else who could.

Always Fact Check Client Debriefs

Take what your client says at face value, but always try to verify that their comments correlate with how your proposal was scored. For example, if they tell you the winning firm had better qualifications, but scored your qualifications higher…you can be sure there is more to the story.

On the other hand, if they said your technical approach could use some work and they scored your technical approach low, you’ll have to admit that technical approach hurt you.

Remember to ask for a debrief even if you’ve won. You’ll need to know the information they provide for future proposals.

When you have the debrief information and have verified it (to the extent you can), put it through the same process you did with your internal debrief.

If you choose to “skip” the debrief process, the lack of improvement will eventually catch up to you and hinder your success rate.

—End Book Excerpt—

Wow, I’m so excited to share this book with you next week. I can’t wait!

If you’re reading this in your email, there’s nothing you have to do. Not only will you get an email containing a link to the book, you’ll get all the tools (forms, charts, etc.) you need to implement these game changing proposal tactics.

If you’re reading this on the web, you’ll have to subscribe below.

Click Here to Subscribe

Next week, it’s finally here. I can’t wait!

But for now, I’d like to hear from you. Shoot me an email or post a comment below about your WORST proposal debrief experience. I read every email and every comment!

Proposal Ghost Stories: How To Spook Your Competition


Last week, I told you about a game-changing book about proposal writing that I obtained the rights to.

I also told you that later this month I’ll be giving it out free to the entire Help Everybody Army.

But today, and over the next two weeks, I want to give you an advanced sneak peek and share some of my favorite excerpts with you right here on

The first excerpt illustrates the tactical nature of this book. And this particular section hit home with me when I was first reading it.

Here it is…

—Start Book Excerpt—

Proposal Ghost Stories

Sometimes you may know who your competition is, and while you certainly don’t want to “trash” them and appear, at the least, impolite, you can still take the opportunity to emphasize your strengths and contrast them against those your competition lacks.

For example, if you find out that a competitor has been given a warning by a government agency or independent auditor because of poor financial management, or if they were cited for contract violations, wouldn’t it be helpful to show that you have never had such problems? A Ghost Story offers an excellent way to do it.

A properly presented Ghost Story can cause the reader to stop and think. And the conclusion the reader draws can effectively wound the competition.

A Ghost Story is a subtle way of pointing out your competitor’s shortcomings without actually pointing a finger directly at them. It simply raises questions in the reader’s mind which, when answered, will not flatter the competition.

The Ghost Story makes a veiled reference to something you know about the competitor’s practices which may already be known by the reader or which may prompt the reader to look into the circumstances.

For example, if you knew that a competitor had been warned on an audit because they “padded” their budget in order to buy some sophisticated equipment that they then kept for their own use, you might include a Ghost Story like this:

Lease or Purchase? We Know When To Do Which!

We want to keep costs down. That’s why we won’t waste your money on expensive equipment that has a short-term use, expecting to keep it for ourselves. The technique we’ve proposed is especially economical because it only requires leasing equipment for the duration of the work, rather than purchasing the equipment and selling it at a loss later. This approach is far better (and definitely more ethical) than the “spend and keep” philosophy of some companies.

The reader of such a story may look closely at other proposals to see if they promote a “spend and keep” philosophy. They’re more likely to scrutinize the techniques your competitors might use and even ask questions about equipment purchased under their past contracts.

Obviously, having a particular bit of intelligence about a competitor makes a Ghost Story very effective.

—End Book Excerpt—

I hope you found that interesting. Next week, I’ll drop another book excerpt your way. And in two weeks, I’m sending this game-changing book to the entire Help Everybody Army.

If you’re reading this in your email, don’t worry, you don’t have to do a thing…you’ll get it.

But, if you’re reading this on the web…be sure to subscribe because you don’t want to miss out.

Click Here to Subscribe

If you’re a subscriber, I want to hear from you. Tell me about a time when you could of, should have, used a ghost story in your proposal. Send me an email or post a comment below. I read every single one.

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