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If you remember writing papers in school, you always had to pay attention to the formatting and grammar, or your grades would suffer. It’s very similar in the federal marketplace.

Request for Proposals often specify page count, font size, graphic size, etc., and your proposal can be discarded if it violates any of these parameters. Pay attention to these specifics and review your work to catch any mistakes.

Use the same outline and section names in the government agency’s Request for Proposal as much as possible. You should also mirror keywords and the lingo they use so the customer hears themselves in your proposal.

Make sure to downplay your weaknesses, emphasize your strengths, and do the opposite for your competitors. However, you must remain professional and accurate when you discuss your competition, being careful about who you name.

Submission, Evaluation, and Award of Your Proposal

When you are ready to submit your proposal, make sure you follow the directions verbatim. If possible, you should submit early to leave room to fix any last-minute mistakes. During the evaluation process, the government customer may reach out and ask for clarifications—answer them promptly and only address their question.

If you happen to lose the award and a debrief is offered, you should request it. This is valuable information for future bids so you can learn from any mistakes.

If you choose to protest their decision, you need to be absolutely confident your company is the rightful winner. Protests are messy, can get expensive, and can leave a trail for your company’s future.

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