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Recognition in The Real World
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Three Things You Never Think About When Answering RFPs

Posted By Jason Thomson, Instigator, Jigsaw, Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I hate RFPs — but for a different reason than most people.

It’s not that they’re cumbersome (they are); it’s that they don’t allow me to clearly articulate and demonstrate my competitive advantages. Most RFPs are so formalized that they become about as interesting to read as the white pages (you remember those, don’t you?).

That’s a problem — and it’s a problem because the response to an RFP is a sale. And making a sale is about more than providing a listing of costs and services. You have to actually sell to make the sale.

That’s the way I approach an RFP — not as a response document, but as a sales tool. In that approach, I address the three things we don’t do often enough:

  1. We don’t think about the reader enough.
  2. We don’t understand or promote a perspective.
  3. We make it too hard to read.

We don’t think about the reader enough.

Selling means understanding your buyer. It’s not about what you sell, it’s about how they buy. Understand who is making the decision, and work to know what’s important to that person (or if not that person, at least the position they occupy). A simple element to consider: Are they a visual, auditory or kinesthetic thinker? Knowing that they’re visual, for example, means you’ll need more images or graphs inside the document.

We don’t understand or promote a perspective.

“Why should we choose you?” Can you answer this question in less than 15 seconds? Too many RFP responses throw the kitchen sink at the reader, effectively saying “we do everywhere, are everything and can be everything!!!!!!” Your organization is in business for a reason that’s different than your competitors. Ensure that your RFP promotes that advantage. Do you have a culture that aligns well with the client? Are you known for absolute details? Do you own a specific platform that makes you stand out? Promote, promote, promote.

We make it too hard to read.

Paragraph after paragraph after mind-numbing paragraph. It seems like RFP responses are ignoring the way people want to connect with content — visually and in short segments. Drop the paragraphs in favor of bullets that list advantages. Use headlines and subheadlines to reinforce content and context (like I’ve done for this article). Add checklists at the end of each section that visually show how you fulfilled the specific requirements of the sale.

As a seasoned proposal writer, I know that your RFP response doesn’t have to look and sound like everybody else’s RFP response — which is important if you want to stand out in the selection process. Follow these three rules and make it easy for your client to say “yes.”

Tags:  Request for Proposal  RFPs 

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RPI Blog #1 – July 2015

Posted By R. Scott Russell, CRP, Monday, July 13, 2015

Recognition In The Real World – Welcome on this new journey that we are going to take together into the world of real life recognition. We’re going to bring our notes, white boards and diagrams with us that have defined what recognition is and we are going to bring them into the real world. What will we find? Who really practices recognition on a daily basis? Do you think there are Best Practices in everyday life recognition? Come along with me as we go in search of the power of recognition and how it can change lives for the better. I’ll be speaking with everyday folks…like you and me…about their most memorable recognition experiences and the why’s behind those memories. Let’s learn something together and make our world a better place.

If you are expecting a perfectly-worded and formatted message here…you’ve come to the wrong place. I have often been told that I write the way I speak. I take that proudly (though it was not always directed at me that way) as a Southerner who may now and again throw in a “y’all” or “folks”, you get the idea.

Lesson #1 – Make sure you inspect results before recognizing someone for a job well done. Case in point, I went to pick up dinner for my family from a new fast food joint in my hometown in Kentucky. The service was lightning fast and though impressed, I simply asked, “Are you sure it’s all in there?” The five workers behind the counter all smiled and confirmed that it was. I said “Thank you so much. I appreciate your respect for the customer’s time.” Well…it was only after I returned to my grandmother’s home that I realized they had actually forgotten two entire dinners. I had to go back and eat crow instead of chicken. Uggg… Make sure you inspect results before recognizing someone for a job well done.

Next Month – Is Recognition WEIRD in Austin, Texas??

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