It’s been a strange few months. No matter where you live and regardless of your role in the organization, your daily life has changed dramatically.
Everyone had to stop traveling. We started working from home. Many of us became teachers. All of us were pushed to go digital and think virtually.
And while each of us was on our own, we all managed to find ways to come together.
It’s a wonderful story, and that’s what today’s blog is all about.
Whether you consider yourself a writer or not, whenever you are working on a proposal, you must understand that you are a storyteller. And, as they say, “Storytellers are in the transportation business.”
In a proposal, you are trying to get the client from Point A (their current provider) to Point B (Compass Group as their provider). How you do it depends on your client, but the story you tell is what needs to move the reader. People need to feel something – to be moved – to make a change.
The right story
The problem many people are facing right now is writing the new story. We’ve all heard “the new normal” enough times that our heads are going to explode, but no one knows exactly what that means. And, in that unknown, it can be hard to tell the right story.
In fiscal year 2019, Compass Group PLC was the largest food and support services company in the world. We earned $32.3 billion and had more than 600,000 employees in 45 countries with plans to hire at least 90,000 more annually.
It’s another great story, but it’s not the right one anymore.
Now more than ever, we must be focused on tomorrow. As a storyteller, you must pull your readers out of the old story and into the new one. You have the opportunity to move them forward – to help them leave the past behind and focus on the what’s ahead.
Top 5 tips for storytelling
We know that’s easier said than done, so here are our top tips for storytelling in proposals:
- Ask questions – What do they care about? What do they need? What do we have that they don’t? The answers to these questions and more will help you figure out the story you need to tell.
- Put yourself in their shoes – Writing with empathy is always important, but human connection might be even more vital than it ever was before.
- Imagine – We’ve talked about power and emotional words before, but “imagine” immediately opens up your mind to storytelling. Follow your imagination and see where it takes you (and where it can take your client).
- Dive in – Sometimes the story gets lost in the proposal because we start with formalities. Instead, dive headfirst into a story. It will be far more engaging and hook your reader much better than a tired thank you.
- Visualize – Like power and emotional words, it’s important to write in a way that paints a picture. We often get caught up in things we see (observations and recommendations, anyone?) that we ignore the power in the other senses. Describing sounds, tastes and aspects of all our senses help transport your reader faster.
BONUS: The No. 1 rule of proposal writing is to focus on the client. Remember you are not the hero to this story. For a truly engaging story, people want to see themselves as the hero, the one who saved the day. So, let them! Frame your story so their decision to make this change is celebrated.
The new story
Yes, we have a rich history. Yes, the current times are tough. But what will tomorrow bring? What does that story look like?
Show your client what a future partnership with Compass Group looks like.
Don’t be sad. We’ll be back on the first Monday next month with a new blog post. If you can’t wait that long—whether because you have a topic you’d love us to cover, a question or you simply want to throw your two cents into the pot—we love talkin’ shop, so drop us a line.