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38 Words and Phrases to Avoid in Your Proposals

Here is a list of words and phrases that you should not use in your proposals and the reasons why. We see them all the time. Sometimes authors use them out of habit. Sometimes they use them because they think it’s okay to use empty assertions when you are writing sales copy. Sometimes they are just getting warmed up by using words they imagine are routine. Sometimes they put them on the cover. How many are in your proposals?

Phrase
Reason to Avoid It
We understand
Don’t tell the customer what you understand. Tell them what you will do and how they will benefit. The results will demonstrate that you understand. Even if the customer asks you to show your understanding you should speak in terms of how what you do, provide, or deliver will meet their needs. Understanding should be demonstrated and not claimed.
We believe, think, or feel
Who cares? The customer doesn’t care what you think. Take whatever you were about to say and turn it into a positive action and state the benefits to the customer.
We intend to
Either you do it, or you don’t. Who cares what your intentions are?
We are devoted to
This is just another way of saying you intend to.
Our highest priority
This like saying it’s your greatest intention.
We hope
That’s like saying you intend to but you’re not sure you’ll be able to.
We desire your business
Of course you do! But your proposal should not be about your needs, it should be about the customer’s needs.
We are committed
Customers don’t want your commitment, they want results.
We are pleased to submit
Of course you are! Does that phrase do anything other than waste the evaluator’s time and attention?
We are quality focused
This is another way of stating your intentions. Instead of focusing on quality, deliver it.
We will strive, try, or attempt
Customers don’t want you to try, they want you to deliver
We will
If it is something that you do (in the present tense) then just do it.
We would be honored
This is just another way of saying how you feel and talking about yourself instead of making it about the customer.
We can provide
Either you provide it, or you don’t.
Our mission is to
This is just another way of stating your intention.
We value
Instead of valuing it, deliver it.
State-of-the-art
This is overused and not credible.
The right choice
Prove it. 
Uniquely qualified
Prove it.
Best of breed/class
Prove it.
Premier, world class, world-renowned
Unproveable. Using it is wasting the evaluators attention.
Dedicated to
Your dedication is not relevant to whether you have delivered or not.
Leading company, leading edge, leading provider, industry leader, pioneers, etc.
Overused and not believable. Don’t damage your credibility by using it.
Top-quality
Is there any other kind?
Full service
What exactly does that mean and is it credible?
Comprehensive solutions
As opposed to?
Fast growing
Your ability to take customers' money quickly is not exactly a selling point to the customer.
Trustworthy
I don’t know about you, but when I hear a salesperson say that I tend to run away.
Customer first
This is not believable. Everyone knows there are limits to what you will do for your customers. Don’t strain your credibility.
 


Members get access to the following related articles:

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Why what you learned in school about writing was wrong
10 Mistakes That Proposal Writers Make Again, and Again, and Again…
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