With just a few short months until the November presidential election, the United States (and the rest of the world) are captivated. But there’s another 2016 US presidential election that has people talking – yes, I’m referring to Frank Underwood of Netflix’s House of Cards. The show’s third season featured Frank’s campaign trail as the backdrop amidst the drama, backstabbing, and cunning moves of what we’ve come to expect from this storyline.

But beyond the twists, turns, and double crossing is the strategy that Netflix employed to produce one of their most successful series ever. So, let’s look at two key areas and apply to proposal development: know your audience and never compromise on quality.

Know Your Audience

Before Netflix started producing House of Cards, they did their research to understand what the customer (viewers) really wanted. Leveraging the information they had at hand (in this instance, their database), they discovered the type of tone, subject matter, and delivery method (streaming on demand). This was all done before a single episode was produced: they made sure to fully understand what was needed to deliver for optimal results.

Not unlike the sales and proposal development process, you must really understand what the client is looking for before putting together a compelling document. What are their expectations, their pain points, their business goals? Keep an open and collaborative discussion among the sales organization, subject matter experts, and the content development team so that everyone is clear and working towards the same goal.

Don’t Compromise on Quality
Once Netflix decided to move forward with the rights to House of Cards, they spent time finding the right studio. Many wanted to see a pilot episode, but Netflix felt the story they wanted to tell had layers of complexity that couldn’t be fairly done by rushing into production of a pilot. They also knew if they produced a poor quality show, it would impossible to dig themselves out. Instead, they focused on collaboration between great writing, fantastic direction, and quality acting to produce the highest quality content possible.

Ever had to rush off a proposal or RFP to meet a deadline or wondered the last time the content library was reviewed for accuracy and integrity? Taking time to assess your own content and keep a client-focused approach boosts your chances of winning the bid. It also helps to make sure that quality isn’t compromised when the team is busy managing deadlines with competing priorities in the name of creating compelling and persuasive selling content.

These two powerful lessons from Netflix may seem simple but understanding how they apply to your day-to-day world could net powerful results (whether or not you seek world domination is your choice). Just steer clear of any double crossing – Frank Underwood style.