Debunking GovCon Myths: You Must be a Great Writer

What if…You is a injineer and can’t write to good. Many people have insecurities, either founded or unfounded, regarding their writing abilities. Government Contracting Academy founder, Randy Wimmer, is no different. He actually is an engineer by education and profession. If anybody can empathize with an insecure writer, he can! Yet, he has written proposals that have won Billions of dollars in government contracts! Here’s how.

The good news about successful government contract proposals is that they’re scored and not read. Let’s clarify that statement. Of course, they’re read, but they’re not read and graded like your English 101 professor. A proposal is read more like a word search puzzle where the evaluation board is seeking answers to specific requirements.

The government evaluates how you respond to each of their Request-for-Proposal requirements. In the Non-Price Proposal, your responses to these requirements receive two scores. The first score assesses how well your solution addresses the requirement. The second score assesses their confidence that you will be able to successfully provide your proposed solution. Simply stated, how do you minimize their risk of our contract performance? Here’s a ludicrous example that will illustrate the differences between the two scores.

You’re in the shipping industry and you’re responding to an RFP to move twenty tons of military hardware from Point A to Point B. However, you just watched Star Trek and feel inspired to propose a Teleportation Machine that can instantaneously teleport anything to anywhere. Of course, the government would love that capability, and your proposal solution receives the highest possible assessment.

Unfortunately, you provide no supporting past performances where you have successfully defied any of the Laws of Physics. In fact, you don’t cite a single relevant patent regarding molecular transportation. Therefore, the government will score your solution with a zero level of confidence. Think of these two scores as an “expected value” calculation where the solution value is multiplied by the probability of solution success. Your Teleportation Machine has high value but zero probability of success, equating to an expected value of zero.

Significantly more important than prime grammar and writing is your understanding of how proposals are scored. Demonstrating that you fully understand the requirements and describing how your approach adds value to the government. And, in the small business set aside market, simply being 100% compliant with the Request-for-Proposal, meaning that you actually kept track of all requirements and ensured they are addressed will likely put you in the top third of bidders! Yes, unbelievably, half to two-thirds of small business bidders don’t do that!