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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 usually focus on the things you should say in your proposals. But sometimes it's helpful to see what you should not say.

    We see these all the time. Some writers use them out of habit. Sometimes they think sales copy is supposed to sound like that. Sometimes they are just getting warmed up by using words they imagine are routine. Sometimes people even put them on the cover! How many of these are in your proposals?

    Reason to Avoid It
    We understand Don’t tell the customer that you understand. Demonstrate your understanding by explaining what they will get, the trade-offs involved, and how they will benefit. The results will demonstrate that you understand. Even if the customer asks you to describe your understanding, you should speak in terms of how what you do, provide, or deliver will meet their needs. You can do this without ever even using the word "understand."
    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 statement of what the customer will get or what you will do or deliver.
    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 Unprovable. Using it is wasting the evaluator's 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 a customer’s 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.

    Carl Dickson
    By Carl Dickson, Founder of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

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