There are lots of good books on the market that all proposal development professionals should consider reading, but someone recently asked me for my top three. In no particular order, here are my recommendations.
Persuasive Business Proposals by Tom Sant
Now in its third edition, Tom’s quintessential handbook on proposal writing should be required reading for all proposal development staff, from part-time proposal writers to proposal managers to SMEs who are drafted into the proposal development process. Buy it, read it, learn from it.
Influence by Robert Cialdini
Everyone who is in the sales or business development profession should read this book, including anyone who writes proposals. If you want to sell stuff, knowing how people makes decisions is an important precursor. Cialdini tells you how people make decisions.
New Sales. Simplified. by Mike Weinberg
I preach to my clients that a sale is typically made in the 12 to 24 months before an RFP is released. If you don’t know what the decision makers care about, if you only know what’s written in an RFP, you don’t know much. In this book, Mike teaches you how to reach out to buyers–proactively–so you can start selling at that critical point when your buyers are actually making their decisions. If you’re a proposal writer or manager, buy a copy of this book for the business development staff on your team.
David Seibert is a professional salesperson, proposal trainer, author, writer, and business development consultant. He is the founder and president of The Seibert Group, a proposal consulting and training organization serving businesses that sell to other businesses, schools, and to state and local governments. You can contact him at David.Seibert@ProposalBestPractices.com.