Not many acronyms strike fear into my heart like RFP (Request for Proposal) does. I’ve had quite a few to deal with over the past month, and have made some observations on the process…
- It’s not a “request.” Really. It’s more like a demand. The best RFPs include a little wiggle room for creativity and the worst ask for 12 pages of arcane data like how many printers are in the HQ.
- You can get thrown out for a typo – if your page number didn’t populate correctly, catch it. If not…see ‘ya!
- Seize your opportunity! I just filled out a government RFP with strict space limitations – while that might be a challenge, it certainly helps you boil your message down to its essence.
- Don’t add extras – if it’s not asked for, don’t include it. One of our client contacts told me that an RFP response (30+ pages!) included three sentences per staff bio instead of the asked-for two. The recycle bin was happy…the responder wasn’t.
5. Think it through before you even start. Is this business you want? Need? Have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning? RFP responses can take days to compile – that’s valuable time you can spend finding other business.
So how do you feel about RFPs? Or do you have a great tip for responses? Let me know in the comments below or tweet @LandisComm.