Captivate Proposal Evaluators: Make Your Submission Unforgettable

Imagine you’re an evaluator with a mountain of proposals on your desk. Your task? To sift through each one, hoping to uncover a gem that meets all the solicitation requirements, minimizes risk, and delivers the best value. This scenario is the reality for many proposal evaluators, facing the daunting task of finding gold in a sea of submissions.

So, how can you ensure your proposal shines brightly enough to catch their eye and, more importantly, keep their attention so they maximize your proposal score? Here are 10 techniques to transform your proposal into a compelling narrative that retains the evaluator’s attention from start to finish.

1. Start with a Bang

Consider beginning your proposal with an attention-grabbing statement or question. This could be a surprising statistic, a provocative question, or a bold claim related to the customer’s requirements and your proposal’s core message. The goal is to pique the evaluator’s curiosity right from the start.

2. Craft Your Executive Summary

Craft an executive summary that is clear, concise, and compelling. This section should highlight your proposal’s value proposition, strengths, and unique differentiators, serving as a teaser that entices the evaluator to read more.

3. Tell a Story

Evaluators are naturally drawn to stories. Structure your proposal to include a narrative arc, introducing characters (your team or stakeholders), setting up a problem, and showcasing how your proposal provides the most beneficial solution. This method makes your submission more relatable and memorable. If you have the opportunity, end the story with a customer quote that verifies the story’s outcome.

4. Use Clear and Concise Language

Avoid jargon and complex language. Use clear, concise sentences to make your proposal easy to read and understand. This respects the evaluator’s time and mental energy, making it more likely they will read your proposal in detail.

5. Design the Proposal’s Layout

After you create an outline, design each page of the proposal’s layout. Identify the placement of whitespace, tables, graphics, icons, text boxes, and other visuals. The design should facilitate the evaluator’s navigation throughout the proposal and offer visual interest and cues to help retain critical points of your message.

6. Create Visuals

Visual aids, such as diagrams, charts, and relevant images, can break up text and convey information more effectively. They add an engaging element that can make complex data or processes easier to understand at a glance. Add a number, title, and action caption to each visual to reiterate its message. In addition, use bullet points, bold text, or color highlights to highlight key points or benefits within your proposal. This technique helps evaluators quickly grasp the most important aspects of your submission.

7. Ensure Logical Flow

Logically organize your proposal with clear headings and subheadings. This aids in readability and helps the evaluator follow your argument or proposal’s structure without getting lost.

8. Personalize Your Approach

Tailor your proposal to the specific evaluator or organization, demonstrating that you understand their size, scope, complexity, and challenges associated with their requirements. Personalization shows that you are not just offering a generic solution but a thoughtfully designed one for them.

9. Include Testimonials or Case Studies

Real-world examples, testimonials, or case studies that demonstrate the success of your approach can be incredibly persuasive. They provide tangible proof of your proposal’s value and potential impact and substantiate your solutions.

10. Use Strong Calls to Action

Add compelling calls to action. Tell the evaluator precisely what you want them to do next. This directs their next steps and reinforces your proposal’s purpose.


Standing out requires more than just a good idea; it demands a strategic approach to communication that captures and retains the evaluator’s attention. Using these 10 techniques, you can craft a proposal that grabs the evaluator’s attention, holds it, and helps maximize your proposal score.

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By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals. As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $170B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and YouTube(TM) .