By Courtney Sparkman.
When you are asked to submit a proposal for providing security guard service it can be both an exciting and anxious time. Your proposal can get you excluded from consideration, invited for a formal presentation, or even win you a contract. Any time that you submit a security guard proposal you can typically expect stiff competition. Fortunately, a well-written proposal can help set you apart from the crowd. So, when you are invited to submit a proposal, always take the time to craft a great response to make the best of the opportunity.
Elements of a Good Security Guard Proposal
Like many things, writing a security guard proposal is a process. Part of that process requires that you follow five basic steps:
1) Know your product.
2) Know your prospect.
3) Know what you want them to do.
4) Write the first draft quickly.
5) Write all of the easy stuff first.
Following those five steps will get you well on your way to drafting a great response. In addition to those steps, you should also consider the following:
- Include a Table of Contents
In most cases, security guard proposals are fairly lengthy. In order to make it easy for the reader to find the information that they are looking for, be sure to include a table of contents. If you are using Microsoft Word, adding a table of contents is relatively simple.
- Page Numbers
In addition to a table of contents, always include page numbers to help the reader easily find information.
- Internal Links to Information
If you are submitting an electronic copy of your proposal, having a table of contents will easily allow your reader to click to a particular section within the table to be taken directly to that section. Also consider linking other text as necessary.
- Electronic Copy
When feasible, always submit an electronic copy of your proposal. It makes it easier for the recipient to share your proposal.
- Executive Summary
A typical security guard proposal can easily exceed 25 pages. Make it easy on your reader by submitting an executive summary of the information that your proposal contains. If they would like to read more, they can proceed to the relevant section in the proposal … using the links that you provide (See #3).
- Write from the Customer’s Perspective
Many proposals are written from the security guard company’s perspective and talk about what the company brings to the table. Rather, the proposal should specifically address the reader’s concerns and state how you will make the reader’s job easier and property safer.
- The “I” Perspective
In addition to writing from the customer’s perspective, remove as many of the following words as possible: we, me, us, I. Replace them with: you, your, yours. Doing so will convey more concern for the reader’s needs.
Although it is easy to just substitute names and use the same proposal repeatedly … DO NOT. Take the time to customise each proposal to address the specific needs of the reader. Show them that you understand their problems and explain how you will address them.
- Additional Solutions
In addition to security guard service, ALWAYS include other solutions that you are capable of providing. Security officers cannot solve every problem, so have a way to address some of the reader’s other challenges.
- Pictures of Uniforms
Always include high-resolution images of your uniforms and officers.
Incorporating technology into your proposal is a must. Whether that technology is reporting software, tour tracking software, or remote camera viewing, customers want their vendors to provide innovative answers to help solve their problems.
In the digital age you should be leveraging as many tools as possible to differentiate your company. If you are submitting an electronic proposal, do not forget to link to any video, graphic, or published content that you have developed.
Although this is a no-brainer, be sure to include an up-to-date copy of your license, insurance, resumes, and all other relevant certifications.
When asked for references, include as many as possible. Always use references that are similar to the property that you are bidding on. Also include a brief description of a problem that you have solved at the property or an accomplishment there.
- Tell a Story
Remember that people love stories. Try to include at least one story that highlights a problem that you were able to solve for a similar client.
- Be Brief
A common fault in many proposals is that they use more words than necessary to express an idea. In your proposals, you should ruthlessly edit them to remove unnecessary words, redundant expressions, and any clichés.
- Include Reports
Include samples of the reports that you will be providing to the client, including any summaries, analytics, metrics, or key performance indicators.
- Include an Appendix
In keeping with the concept of being brief, try to put supporting documentation in an appendix that the reader can refer to as necessary.
- Use a Response Checklist
You are probably submitting your proposal in response to a request for proposal (RFP). If so, make a checklist of all the requirements outlined in the RFP and check off each. Also reference each item with a page number where it can be found.
- Have Easy to Understand Pricing
Lastly, make sure that you include a breakout of your pricing, including hourly wages, to help the reader understand what they are getting.
Although a well-written security guard proposal does not guarantee that you will win a bid, it does give you the chance to differentiate yourself from your competition. So make sure that it is clear, concise, persuasive, and speaks to the reader’s needs.
Courtney Sparkman is Founder and CEO at OfficerReports.com