Ask the Expert

How to use active language while still making the customer the subject of the proposal

Question by: Leona


I use your Proposal Essentials book on a daily basis and absolutely love it.

One of the guidelines is using the customer’s name/You/Your etc on the left-hand side of the page – if I’m doing this, I sometimes end up using passive language though, which is generally a no-no.

How do you use active language while keeping the customer as the focal point of the sentence/paragraph please (without reverting to phrases like ‘You’ll benefit from…’, ‘You’ll receive…’ etc?

Thank you!



Hi, Leona

Glad you like the book!

Great question. For me, this is about starting your answer showing you “get” the client’s needs and why they’ve asked the question. That doesn’t have to be at all passive. And then you move on to explaining how you’ll deliver and why you’re the best – which again can be in the active voice.

It’s also about the order in which you structure sentences. It’s not uncommon for people to instinctively write about features – what we’ll do – before benefits. So breaking those sentences in two: leading with what the client will get, and then explaining how we’ll deliver it.

Hope that helps?