In an effort to spread the love this Valentine’s Day, we bring you five mistakes of proposals. In the federal contracting world, of course. Ignoring the person your proposal is for. Talk about what your customer needs and wants. Be in tune with their requirements, both explicit and implicit. Spend some time getting to know what exactly they’re looking for with the solicitation. And then speak to that, not what your corporate objectives entail. Not getting permission beforehand. If you don’t have early management, buy-in, you’re going to have a hard time getting the time and dollars you need to win business. Communicate about everything: schedules, resources, B&P dollars. Get management, capture teams and consultants like Richter & Company involved early in the opportunity lifecycle. Talking about yourself. Watch the number of times you mention yourself compared to your customer. Don’t talk about yourself, your capabilities, and your solution the whole time. Speak to the benefits of your solution from the customer’s standpoint, rather than the features your company offers. Being late. If you can’t be on time with your proposal submission, don’t even bother. Making promises you can’t (or don’t intend to) deliver. Whatever your proposal entails, be sure that you can deliver. Terminations and off-ramps are crippling to your business, and in a hyper-competitive marketplace, you can be sure someone else will step in to deliver what you couldn’t. If you propose it, do it.