Clear thinking

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Bid Proposals | Using flowchart diagrams

 May 20, 2014
by Paul Heron

Showing is always better than telling.

To demonstrate, we recently asked five people to read a page of dense bid copy containing one (small) captioned illustration. An hour later they differed on which details they remembered—but everyone accurately recalled the selling point made in the caption.

Flowcharts can show, rather than tell, how processes work.

Use flowcharts to show conditional processes

Flowcharts are ideal for explaining processes that include responses to events with unknown outcomes. Common bid situation examples include:

  • Handling customer service calls or complaints from the public
  • Responding to out-of-normal situations, including emergencies

A flowchart is especially helpful when members of the prospect’s team will be involved in making decisions and/or in responding to events.

In the absence of conditional responses and client involvement, consider diagramming any process that differentiates your solution, perhaps because it requires fewer steps than your competitors’. Even a simple flowchart can act as an attractor to ensure evaluators read the caption selling your more efficient process.

If none of the above applies, write two or three lines of copy and visualize more important aspects of your solution.

Even simple flowcharts get noticed

A flowchart for deciding whether to use a flowchart is shown below.

Figure 1: Flowchart diagrams attract attention: Like all visuals, flowcharts create opportunities to deliver a selling message you don't want evaluators to miss.


BONUS: Flowcharts force discipline

Reducing a process to a set of steps, including events and decisions, forces discipline on the process itself. One client only formalized a troubleshooting process when team members compared notes and settled on the best task sequence in order to flowchart them.

Easy to create

Once a process is clearly defined, you can easily create flowcharts using widely available software, including MS Office. In next week’s post we’ll show you how.


Need help creating proposals that engage evaluators?
Contact Complex2Clear


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