Tips for Responding to RFPs
Review the full document
- From the intro of the RFP through the market basket, note clues of what they really want.
- Highlight points and make margin notes. First thoughts and reactions help you craft answers.
- Note all deadlines.
- Evaluate if this is an opportunity where you want to invest time, resources, and expense.
Know the client and the opportunity
- Research the client: mission, services, community involvement, audiences, etc. Pull this information you can pull into your answers to create a connection
- What can you find out about your competitors? Incumbents?
- Is there a procurement company involved? Understand the value they have promised the client.
Don’t settle for yes or no answers
- When space allows, expand on all answers…briefly.
- RFPs may not ask the question you’d like to answer. Find where to fit in good points.
- Don’t bluff; be specific to the question asked
Create a positive spin
- Be aware that anything you do not offer may disqualify you.
- Don’t provide the requested service? Don’t say “no”; explain and suggest an alternate solution.
Show and tell
- Make it easy on the reader. Use bullet points for complicated procedures. Also pictures, photos, diagrams, process flows to illustrate your answers and break up all the words
- Support your pictures with captions and explanations when necessary.
- The evaluating team may read up to 50 responses. Find ways to stand out.
- Make your responses clear, concise, and correct. Be personal if possible.
- Start your response with the most important points and then finish with the ancillary details. Readers start to skim, and you want what’s critical up front.
- Deliver a professional document. Proof it! Have fresh eyes read it for comprehension/accuracy.
- Include an executive summary
Market basket/pricing exercise
- Understand the spreadsheet terms, processes, formulas, and pricing model.
- Clarify your pricing: write out any assumptions you make in figuring your costs. Some people look for mark-up, and others want a margin.
- Show the formulas you use. Lead them through it!
- Must honor all that you promised in RFP.
- Be clear about responsibilities, service levels, and inventory.
- Have a professional review it.
-Courtesy of Tango