How to Present Memorable Ideas When Writing Bids
When you’re pitching to a client you have to work hard to make sure that your product, service or idea stands out from the competition. Writing about outsourced services or accounting software is not sexy, but one of your competitors will understand the importance of presenting and idea that resonates. They’ll then develop the capability to impress the buyers and hoover up their share of business.
It’s over ten years since Chip and Dan Heath wrote Made to Stick. I flick through it frequently when I’m trying to come up with ideas on how to make a piece of writing memorable. They present the following six principles that help make ideas stand out from the competition.
What is the core idea behind the service you’re offering? Prioritise what you are presenting without over simplifying, and the person reading your submission will gain a clear understanding about what’s on offer.
Can you present your information in a way that surprises or even jolts the reader, and makes them want more? The Heath Brothers use the concept of “gap theory” to develop this idea. They say that “unexpected ideas, by opening a knowledge gap, tease and flirt. They mark a big red X on something that needs to be discovered but don’t necessarily tell you how to get there.”
The best way of making an idea understandable is to use concrete images that are full of human actions and sensory information. If you are presenting a product or service, make sure that your submission includes high quality images that show how users interact and benefit from it.
How many times have you read a submission that isn’t believable? In order for a buyer to feel that your product or service is credible you need to give him or her a chance to try it out. This could be through providing a hyperlink that allows them access a test site or else doing an onsite demo.
One of the best ways of getting someone to buy into your ideas is to get them to feel something. It’s very hard to get excited about any of the benefits of a piece of software, but if you harness the right emotion you get a jump on your competitors. According to the Heath Brothers “we are wired to feel things for people, not abstractions…it’s difficult to get teenagers to quit smoking by instilling in them a fear of the consequences, but it’s easier to get them to quit by tapping into their resentment of the duplicity of Big Tobacco.”
Stories are a great way of firstly engaging people and then getting them to act on ideas. The Mercury Rev gig that I attended two weeks ago in Whelan’s was memorable not just for the stripped down performances of Deserter Songs but the very interesting context that frontman Jonathan Donahue provided before each number.
Hopefully this bid writing tip will help you improve your bid writing approach the next time you have to tender for a government contract.
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