Responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP) can be a challenging task, especially if this is your first time. Whether this is your first venture into the RFP response process, or you are a seasoned vet, these tips are worth having in your back pocket. Keep in the mind the first step of any RFP response actually happens prior to the RFP is released – spend time getting to know the individuals at the Agency. Learn who the decision makers are and reach out to them to establish a connection before the formal solicitation process is initiated.
The first order of business is understanding the RFP. Your RFP response must align properly with what is being asked. You need to follow the instructions explicitly, providing the information requested in the format desired. In short, follow directions to a “T”. This is the first step in demonstrating your capabilities to deliver.
Know the vocabulary of the industry you are looking to service. Speak in terms the Agency will understand without getting to bogged down in jargon. This lets them know that you will be able to communicate with them on their level and that they will be able to focus on their work rather than explaining what every acronym means. It is also important that the answers you provide are fresh and pertain specifically to each individual proposal. Using the same generic answer on every proposal response is a sure-fire way to keep you out of contention. Know with whom you are speaking and tailor your message to meet the needs of each individual Agency.
Make sure you include in a proposal past success stories. This is a great way to demonstrate not only how you helped a previous client, but it shows value to a potential Agency that may be dealing with the same issues.
Has this ever happened to you? You find an RFP that has your name written all over it. You sit down to write your proposal and simply don’t know how to answer the questions being asked? There are tools out there that can help you create stellar responses for a fraction of the cost of an in-house writer. ProposalHelper can help you from start to finish and every point in between.
It is important to make sure you have a firm grasp on your limitations. Replying to requests for goods and services that you do not currently offer is not only a waste of your time but a waste of an Agency’s time. Hope is not a strategy. Focus on the core goods and services you provide and go after contracts that match up.
Keep your answers concise and to the point. Answer a question directly and then explain your answers in no more than two sentences. Use an appendix to provide additional details if necessary.
One of the quickest ways to be added to the reject pile is to simply ignore instructions and use language that suggests you will only provide certain answers if awarded the contract. RFP’s are designed to assess the best candidates for the job. If you do not follow the instructions provided, then how can you be expected to perform the tasks associated with the contract. Also, if you cannot provide answers to specific questions during the proposal process then it can be viewed that you simply don’t know.
If you are unclear on something it does not hurt to ask the question. Agencies often include a section to include questions. With a free BidSync Links account, you can actually ask your questions inside the application and get your responses electronically making it as easy as possible to get the answers you need. Follow these rules when submitting your next RFP response for a government contract and stay ahead of your competition.
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