A request for proposal (RFP) response is a packaged representation of your company. In the mind of a buyer, there is no doubt that a strong cover letter can be a huge differentiator for your response.
Poorly written cover letters with simple grammar and spelling mistakes can convey a sense of disorganization, mistrust and – even incompetence. Often, these one or two-page documents are as far as a high-level executive may go into your painstakingly thorough and compelling masterpiece. Even for a buyer who spends the necessary time to review and score the entire response, this small window into your weeks-long effort can set the tone for their decision-making process.
While it is tempting to make a cover letter all about YOU and how awesome YOUR business is, your persuasive power and energy is better spent articulating how THEY will benefit from the partnership.
Keys to writing compelling cover letters:
- “It’s about you, not me.” Help them envision the implementation of your product or service in their organization.
- What pain points can you directly address that your sales team have uncovered in the pre-proposal phase or that are identified through careful review of the RFP? Addressing a relevant pain point and offering a solution builds trust. This can often be done by restating the goals of the buyer as outlined in the RFP.
- Always quantify and qualify your claims with past experience and impressive relevant statistics. Unsubstantiated claims, like claiming to be the best or having the best customer service in the industry, are unimpressive if not proven.
- Avoid buzz words such as “cutting-edge,” “best-in-industry,” and “best-in-class.” These statements take space and add little value. The exception here is if there are surveys or metrics which actually prove your company truly is the best.
Using these guidelines, you can start a compelling cover letter.
An example of an introductory paragraph in a cover letter:
“The University of Kansas seeks a proven website developer with search engine optimization experience to improve their website engagement to increase enrollment. By partnering with [Company Name], the school can expand their reach to prospective students and parents, just like we have successfully done for over 25 universities who all experienced over 40% increase in traffic to their site and reported enrollments rose by over 6%.”
Using these strategies, you can create a formula for a compelling cover letter that helps your business stand out from the competition.
If you would like a third party proposal review or help writing compelling cover letters, contact us at info@winwiththeme. We’d love to hear from you!