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There are two basic types of sample proposals, depending on whether you are writing a proposal or are receiving one. If you are writing a proposal to get business and have gathered examples to draw from, the best proposal samples are the ones that are proposing the same types of services to similar clients. If you are receiving sample or draft proposals from potential service or product suppliers, then the best proposal samples are those that most directly and appropriately address your company’s business needs.
As a proposal writer, you may have reached out to colleagues or peers and requested proposal samples that could help you write a stronger proposal for a potential client. Consider whether the proposals are addressed to clients of a similar size, industry, and geography, and if the business needs they address are related to what your company does. The goal is to draw on already composed content so you can save time, as well as to identify and use best practices from previous proposals.
It is important to keep in mind that you can mix and match to great effect. For example, a project methodology from Proposal A combined with a fees outline for Proposal B together with the map graphics from Proposal C may provide the best combination for your proposal. From the gathered sample proposals, you can also see the different ways information is laid out, formatting styles, and tones.
As a proposal reviewer at a company soliciting bids from potential service or product providers, you may have distributed a request for proposal (RFP) to your potential providers or in some other way communicated what you would like to see in a proposal. If you permit bidders to do so — or if they take the initiative to do so — bidders may submit proposal samples or draft proposals before submitting a finalized, official version. The purpose of this pre-submission is for the bidder or proposer to make sure their proposal is going in the right direction.
Choosing the best proposal among this group depends on how well you think the bidder has addressed your company’s specific needs or challenges, whether or not the draft fees numbers are within the range of your expectations, or simply whether or not they have answered the questions in the RFP. At this stage in the proposal process, it may be possible to identify those bidders you wish to continue to consider. You can then request a final proposal from those bidders who show promise.