I’m always excited when we receive an RFP (Request for Proposal) here at Percepted… especially when it’s from a new contact. It opens the door to network and establish new business relationships which of course we all hope ends with the project being awarded to us.
Over the years I’ve learned to consider a few things when responding. The first instinct may be to throw your hat in and respond right away. But preparing a well thought out response to an RFP can be quite an investment of time and resources particularly if it’s a significantly sized/complex project.
When possible it’s helpful to get a handle on the RFP process and the players. The trick is to obviously not rock the boat, but it can be wise to vest the situation a little and determine if it’s a worthwhile use of your time and the odds are reasonable you will win the project.
1) Is the person reaching out to you with the RFP the decision maker? Who are the decision makers?
This is your first opportunity to start a rapport and it’s worthwhile to know if the person who initially made contact is one of the decision makers or simply doing the legwork.
2) As part of the RFP, is there a face-to-face meeting or presentation and will the decision makers be in attendance?
This is usually the intent, but it doesn’t always work out this way for various reasons. Occasionally this is not in anyones control, I’ve presented in the past only to have the decision maker’s boss who was not in attendance seemingly make the selection.
3) Does the company requesting the RFP currently (or in the past) work with any of the vendors invited to respond?
If they are honest with you, this is helpful to know. You may not want to spend the time preparing a response if the company already has working relationship with one of the candidates as you may end up being used as gauge for pricing etc.
4) How many vendors are invited to respond?
Obviously, more vendors, equals more competition, equals less odds.
Lastly if the company is requesting spec work, tread lightly. Typically I stay away from spec work. But if you do agree to it, make sure you retain ownership of all work produced and have everything returned upon completion of the RFP process. Then keep your fingers crossed and hope you are awarded the project.
Matt Enock, Percepted