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Key Takeaways from Matt Handal’s Proposal Workshop

Last week, Matt Handal, the author of the book Proposal Development Secrets: Win More, Work Smarter, and Get Home on Time, held a half-day workshop which included discussion and exercises to help attendees take their proposals to the next level. For those who unfortunately could not attend, here is a summary of some key takeaways!

First, Matt introduced us to six Mind Marketing tools to help us better prepare for the way our clients make decisions. It is important to remember that the brain is one of the most important decision makers. Matt explained how we can adapt our proposals to help a client’s brain make decisions, including:

• Providing solutions to challenges and concerns that are specific to the client and project
• Identifying our project team’s unique qualities
• Showing common characteristics between our project team and the client that establish a personal connection
• Highlighting relatable proof of our successful, past relevant projects, such as providing a previous client’s quote on their experience working with our project team
• Defining a “weakness” to emphasize our unique character, rather than imply we are less qualified

For the second part of the workshop, we put ourselves into the client’s shoes. We looked at the proposal process from the client’s perspective. To do so, we reviewed proposals that were submitted in response to an RFP (Request for Proposals) and made a decision on which consultant we’d choose if we were the client.

Taking a look at the client’s perspective is something I recommend everyone do if you have the chance. It is not easy being in their shoes, and it is important to think about ways your proposal could make their decision-making process easier.

So, how can we stand out from everyone else and take our proposals to the next level?

Finally, after gaining a fresh, new perspective of the client’s decision-making process and six new tools for Mind Marketing, we discussed as a group various ways to apply these tactics while preparing proposals – taking them to the next level – enticing the client to read our proposals and make a decision… which ideally means choosing our team!

For more information on Matt Handal, check out his website Help Everbody Everyday where he provides advice, training, and support for those in A/E/C Marketing roles.

Virginia Steigerwald


Virginia Steigerwald is a Senior Marketing Coordinator at Nitsch Engineering and the Co-Chair of SMPS Boston's Communications Committee.

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