While we’ve worked with many clients who have seen RFPs become a valuable revenue stream, we’ve also seen some respondents get discouraged with the RFP process, and with good reason: the time and effort it takes to pull together a winning proposal can be considerable.
In competitive bid situations, a few simple but powerful strategies is all it could take to land your next proposal at the top of the pile.
Choose the Right Words
In RFPs, issuers set out criteria for the responses they’re seeking and use specific language to do so.
Winning proposals pick up on this language and reflect it back to the issuer. You want to ensure not only that you’re speaking to the issuer’s requirements, but also that you’re speaking their language and using their own vocabulary to demonstrate your understanding of their needs.
Use Your Words Wisely
Most RFPs indicate a page limit or specify a word count for your responses. And you want to be sure to stick to it!
But even more importantly, use language that is clear, crisp and concise. Don’t force reviewers to have to wade through vague or lengthy responses to find what they need. Never go long just for the sake of it. Get to the point and make it easy for the reviewers to understand exactly what you’re offering.
Make it Easy on the Eyes
Even if you’re not in an industry that involves visual presentation, keep in mind that people are visual. And that visual enhancements more easily communicate professionalism and credibility than words.
We’re not talking about fancy graphics, although they help. Reviewers should be able to tell with a simple glance through your proposal that they’re going to be able to find what they need and understand clearly what you’re communicating. If you make them work too hard to find the key information, they simply won’t bother.
Read Between the Lines
Do you understand what the issuer is asking for in the RFP? If you’re unsure, try reading between the lines to deduce what they’re really getting at.
For example, an RFP asks proponents to detail their conflict resolution process. At first blush you might think this means your firing policy. But is that what the issuer is really asking for? Perhaps they’re referring to a conflict resolution policy that also includes contract and customer service. A knowledgeable interpretation will deduce if the issuer is interested in a more layered response.
Need help with your next RFP? Contact us for a free consultation!