How to Answer a Request for Proposal (RFP) Effectively
Tips on How to Put Together a Winning Proposal During the RFP Process
Answering a Request for Proposal (RFP) effectively requires precision, knowledge and expertise of the subject, while convincing the owner of the virtues and characteristic that converts you in the best suited company for the related task. Requests for Proposals usually are evaluated by a group of directors or committee board with such expertise that rapidly can detect the credentials of the companies answering or competing for the specific project. Answering the Request for Proposal (RFP) requires skills and we want you to get the job, so we provide these simple hints that will enable you to answer the RFP in an effective way.
Do You Understand What Services Are Required?
You must understand and answer the concerns and the expectation of your client completely. Remember that you cannot answer the same way each Request for Proposal received. Be sure to make emphasis on what the customer wants and how you can offer that to the customer.
What Is the Problem Being Solved?
If a Request for Proposal is issued, then a problem is occurring. You must evaluate the method you will use to solve or confront the problem. Present the skills, resources, and methodologies available that you will use to solve the problem. Put together a plan that explains how you will meet the customer goal and make that a priority when answering he RFP.
Establish and Acknowledge the Client Priorities
Most agencies issuing a Request for Proposal have specific requirements that must be met, starting from the most important factor. Evaluate yourself and determine how much weight you are giving to that particular factor in your response. Present a clear and concise way on to deal with that important factor.
Understanding the scope of the project will allow you to prepare the best team, resources and time frame needed to deal with the issue. The scope needs to be defined by the customer and must be addressed in the RFP with resources, logistics, ideas and provide past experiences on how your company has deal with that.
Do not create idealistic scenarios with improbable solutions and methodologies, prepare real solutions, real team members, and answer with specific solutions and present, if available, current issues being solved. A schedule must be part of your RFP answer and must include expectations on when to start, what to do when is set to be completed and even how to present temporary solutions if needed.
Two is Better than One
Try to present alternative ways to solve the problem. Presenting multiple alternatives to choose will allow the client, to think that you have a great experience and that you can deal with unexpected conditions arising from the current problem. List your options, unless otherwise instructed, so the customer can have in your RFP answer multiple choices to choose from.
Human Resources- Lessons Learned
Present specific examples of past experiences; identify similar solutions and similar problems that you have worked on. It will increase the faith in you and will convert you in one of the finalists.Bring your group together, remember we are talking about the team that will be participating in the project and have them explain how they will overcome common problems.
You Are Not the Only One
Besides the answer to the client, you must also counteract your rival competition. Don’t think that you are the only one answering the proposal. Present real ideas of the benefit of selecting you against the other firms. Highlight your strengths and try to minimize your weakness. Avoid at all means to talk about your competitors, remember is all about you.
Present to the client broader alternatives that will complement the request for proposal specific issue. Suggest other things and actions that will represent added savings to the client. List the value engineering alternatives that you can use or how to save money to your customers but still solving the problem stated in the RFP.
Include key people with experience working on similar projects. Use team members with extra-curricular activities, training, and other learning experiences. Present an org chart on the resources, the amount of time devoted to the project, when they will participate and when the resources will be pulled back from the project.
Present time frame and specific schedules of how the problem will be solved or how the implementation process will last. A P6 or MS Project schedule will demonstrate your understanding of the project, and if its resource loaded, even better.
Identify similar agencies with similar problems that you have worked on and what type of solutions and problems you have dealt with. List contact key players, project size, schedules, costs, and problems faced when dealing with similar issues with other customers.