Cracking the RFP Code

It takes more than paperwork to effectively bid on contracts

of qualifications, or price quotes, they’re already at the end of a long decision-making process. “They have identified and assessed a problem and envisioned and built internal consensus on a solution,” says Potter. “They probably also have a preferred provider in mind — a firm that helped write the proposal and who will most likely end up being selected.”

Before submitting your RFP response, consider the following expert recommendations:

  • Do get there first by being proactive and not waiting around for the government entity or corporation to send you a bid request.
  • Do pick your battles, rather than going after every bid opportunity that crosses your desk.
  • Do establish relationships with key contacts in an effort to better understand their wants and needs.
  • Don’t let your technical employees write a proposal that’s meant to be a business proposal.
  • Don’t criticize or question the RFP and/or its format or requirements.
  • Don’t submit a proposal that you know is weak and off base. (Evaluators will remember that it’s the worst proposal they’ve ever seen and that label will stick.)


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