Answering a request for proposal (RFP) might be a bit intimidating the first time you’re doing it. Writing it well does take some time, effort, and usually some planning ahead. So, where do you even start?
Well, once you’ve read this short guide, many questions you have will be answered. We will be going over the most important tips on writing an effective RFP response that is sure to get you the results you need.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the bottom of it!
1. Make it as fast as possible
Speed is crucial in writing an RFP response. The faster you are, the more likely you’ll be to get the results you want.
If you’re fast to answer their calls it will show that you’re interested and that you value their time. Still, make sure to read their RFP carefully, so you know if it’s even worth replying to. Don’t accept just any proposal since many times it will be more effective to just reject it. RFP responses take time and effort to write, so make sure it’s not a waste of your resources to do it. The request for proposal must be financially reasonable, detailed enough, and scheduled appropriately so you know it’s serious.
2. Explain a little about your company
Once you start writing, make sure to include a cover letter of a sort. Tell them what you’re all about first since it’s crucial for building any kind of partnership. Make sure to use a professional style of writing, but don’t make it too bland. You want it to be engaging enough so they keep on reading. Think of it like you’re attending a job interview, and keep the tone friendly but professional. Don’t’ overdo it though, it should be straight to the point, without any unnecessary details.
It shouldn’t be too short, but it shouldn’t be very long either. Find a perfect balance between the two for the best possible results. Introduce your company like you would at a 1-1 meeting with their representative.
3. Show that you’ve read the RFP
Make sure you go over the RFP once or twice before you start writing your response. Adress al the questions and specific requirements they provided you within their RFP. Break the document into smaller parts by using bullet points. Having a block of text is likely to make them lose interest in reading further. Think of it like you’re doing a PowerPoint presentation: focus only on the most important topics. The reader should see that you meet their most important requirements by just glancing over the whole document.
Even though your executive summary should be much more detailed than the cover letter, make sure you do it on one page only. In this way, it will be much more readable to their representatives.
All in all, make sure they see you’ve closely read their request, and answer all of their questions.
4. Develop a plan
Once you’ve established that you can meet their requirements, tell them more about the specifics. They have to know that you care enough to have created a customized plan for their needs. Of course, this plan should be detailed enough for it to make sense, but also flexible enough so they can ask for additional services.
Talk about your resources and how you plan on using them to satisfy their needs to the best of your ability.
Of course, be transparent on the things you can’t provide for them. Business is all about making compromises, so if you’re not able to do something, state it clearly at the beginning.
Be completely transparent when it comes to your prices. Make sure they know exactly how much they pay for every single thing you offer.
Research shows that pricing transparency is one of the main factors in getting a successful deal at the end. So, calculate all the costs, and make the final offer acceptable to both parties.
Write a simple overview in a tabular form showing all of the potential costs. Make sure to state everything in details, so the company knows if they should make any cuts to the budget.
6. Your resume
Make sure to state your previous experience and your qualifications. You can briefly describe similar projects you’ve worked on, so they can know you’re reliable enough to do the job. You can offer to show your customer feedback and other similar things for a stronger effect.
Other than that, talk about your skills and your capacities. Describe your service in detail, and explain more about how your company functions.
Think of it like you’re applying for a regular job at a company. This section of the RFP response should basically look like any common CV, only it doesn’t represent an individual but it represents a business instead.
7. Ask for professional help
Some companies specialize in helping you to write customized RFP responses. Getting some professional guidance is always a good way to ensure you get the best possible results. This can also be perfect for someone who’s writing the RFP response for the first time. Once you see how it’s done, every other time you do it will be much easier.
Of course, make sure you entrust this job to a reliable service like the thebidlab.com since you want the RFP response to be perfect. You can later use it as a template of some sort, but make sure not to rely on templating too much. Every RFP is different, so they require different responses too.
Writing an effective RFP response can be a daunting task. Still, it’s important to learn how to do it well, since it’s a huge part of running a business.
The most important thing to do is to be clear, precise, and keep it professional. Make sure to do it quickly, and be transparent about your pricing and fees. Leave room for negotiation, but make sure it’s financially acceptable for you.
All in all, if you’re worried about not managing to write it well, you can always seek some professional advice.