Unleashing the Power of Storytelling in Winning Proposals

Create compelling proposals that convert with storytelling structures and the right keywords using VisibleThread's VT Docs. Learn from Jeff Goldfinger, Founder of Xtra Mile Training & Development to take your proposal writing skills to a new level.

Kees Hendrickx



5 min read
Unleashing the Power of Storytelling in Winning Proposals - Proposal writing blog

Are you looking for a way to write a winning proposal that stands out amongst the competition? Mastering the art of storytelling is key in creating an effective and compelling pitch. Proposals should use a narrative that clearly explains your product/service, while focusing on denouement to make it unique. This includes understanding the denouement – a French term that plays an essential role in storytelling.

Jeff Goldfinger, founder of Xtra Mile Training & Development, hosted our recent webinar “Unlocking Your Inner Shakespeare – Mastering The Art of Compelling Proposal Writing“. Jeff has been helping B2B companies grow revenue through more H2H interactions for over a decade. He is a renowned expert in proposal writing who has trained countless sales teams to craft compelling proposals.

Jeff’s webinar provided valuable tips for crafting proposals, including identifying keywords tied to client’s desired outcomes using VT Docs. And using Freytag’s Pyramid for further depth in understanding narrative structure. The presentation drew parallels between the Iliad, the Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, the Blair Witch Project, and proposals. It highlighted their common thread of a compelling narrative.

Join us as we explore how powerful storytelling can set you apart in today’s highly competitive marketplace!

“When you propose something to your customer you are using things from the past to make a case about a future. It's your imagination. It's a fiction. So how do we make your fiction be compelling, such that your customer wants to buy?”

Crafting Compelling Proposals with Great Storytelling Techniques

As a proposal writer, it is important to understand the importance of telling a compelling story to your customers. During the webinar, Jeff introduces world-building in realistic fiction as a tool for crafting captivating engaging narratives in proposals. By grounding your story and creating a believable world, customers can be transported to an authentic and captivating place. This type of fiction has the power to make your proposal stand out in a crowded marketplace. 

It’s no secret that fiction has been a key factor in our species’ dominance as Jeff explains. By allowing us to explore hypothetical scenarios, we have imagined and created new technologies, societies, and cultures. Proposals to customers are fictional narratives depicting a future that has not yet materialized, engaging them in the possibilities. Understanding storytelling structures like Freytag’s Pyramid or Plot Mountain can make your customer’s fiction even more compelling. Crafting a narrative using these mechanical structures keeps customers engaged and excited about the possibilities in your proposal.

Finally, it’s worth considering the science behind why storytelling is so powerful. Our brains wire themselves for communication and the processing of stories, whether oral or written. When we engage with a captivating story, our brain waves sync with the speaker in a phenomenon known as neuro-entrainment. Therefore, great storytellers have the power to captivate their audience and leave a lasting impression. By incorporating world-building techniques into your proposals, you can tap into the innate human desire for storytelling. By using Freytag’s Pyramid, you can create proposals that stand out in the minds of your customers.

The Denouement in proposal writing

The Denouement is a literary technique used to provide closure to a story or to resolve conflicts. It is a crucial component of storytelling, and it is also useful in the proposal writing process. Jeff highlights “The Princess Bride” movie as a prime example of compelling storytelling, showcasing the skilful use of Denouement.

A compelling narrative in proposal writing is crucial for customers to understand and grasp the product or service effectively. Often, language used in proposals is ambiguous, and the customer may not know what it means. Therefore, the writer must provide a straightforward narrative that explains the product or service’s benefits. The narrative should make the customer feel their survival is in the writer’s hands. The objective is to instil in the customer an understanding of the product/service value and its associated benefits. By doing this, the writer can provide closure to the proposal, and the customer will understand the product’s or service’s value.

Jeff emphasizes the importance of focusing on technical specifications in proposal writing for compliance, but not as the sole focus. Looking at the project’s purpose and mission is crucial to identify the Denouement, setting a proposal apart from others. Proposal managers should focus their attention on this often-overlooked element, which houses the overarching goal. By understanding the Denouement and crafting a proposal that speaks to it, winning a competition becomes more likely.

Unveiling the Denouement with VT Docs

Jeff highlights the benefits of using VisibleThread’s VT Docs to efficiently shred proposal documents. Proposal writers commonly use the tool for compliance-related words. Jeff suggests using it to focus on Denouement related words revealing client goals and values in an RFP (Request For Proposal).

Using the right keywords, capture managers, proposal managers, and volume leads can uncover and spend time understanding the Denouement. This is where they can identify the win themes that will set their proposal apart. Jeff demonstrates how Denouement related words yield a concise subset of highlighted terms with valuable insights for proposal writers.

Jeff shared more in-depth examples and stories from his experiences in the webinar. He showed this shred to make your responses more compelling and increase your win rate.

You can download his compliance matrix for free here.

Jeff recommends applying Freytag’s pyramid to enhance proposals, including the executive summary and narrative paragraphs, for improved effectiveness. This approach treats each component as a mini pyramid, resulting in successful proposal writing and organized paragraphs.

Dictionaries in VT Docs are an essential tool for efficient and compliant document analysis. You can search for specific phrases and terms, ensuring accuracy and mitigating risks. By utilizing dictionaries, you can enhance the quality of your written materials, streamline reviews, and maintain a professional image. Creating dictionaries is easy, and customization options like bulk imports or the VisibleThread Dictionary Editor make them versatile.

To create a dictionary in VT Docs, follow these simple steps:

  • Access the Dictionary icon in the navigation pane.
  • Choose “Quality Dictionaries” from the options.
  • Click the “+” button and select “Quality
  • Dictionary” from the drop-down menu.
    Provide a name for your new dictionary and click “OK.”
  • Your newly created dictionary is now ready to add terms to.

You can customize dictionaries through bulk import from a .CSV file or using the Dictionary Editor to add terms.

Watch our VT University video below for a step-by-step guide on creating a dictionary in VT Docs.


The power of storytelling in proposals is one of our most powerful weapons as proposal writers. We must leverage it to help ensure our success. Understanding the Denouement and its importance in storytelling is crucial to crafting winning proposals. You can make your proposals stand out by using structure techniques like Freytag’s Pyramid and Plot Mountain.

Proposal managers can leverage the power of VisibleThread’s VT Docs to efficiently identify win themes related to Denouement. You can create compelling proposals that stand out in a competitive marketplace by analysing client objectives, goals, and values.

View the Jeff Goldfinger webinar here: “Unlocking Your Inner Shakespeare – Mastering The Art of Compelling Proposal Writing”.

Want to learn even more about proposal writing? We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to proposal writing, drawing on the expertise of experienced proposal writers. Download the guide now.

Related Blog Articles


Book a Demo