This preamble was in a recent Request for Proposal:

“Please do not include marketing or sales materials in your response. Your company has been pre-qualified and we appreciate it if you will only focus on the information required to satisfy the specific needs of the RFP.”

It’s the best advice I’ve seen yet from a Client. In this case, each company had been selected to bid because they passed a pre-qualification phase, so the typical sales job about the company wasn’t needed – it had already been done.

That left the real sales job for the bidders – differentiating themselves.

This client had very specific questions in their RFP. If you looked at them closely and thought about it, you could figure out why they were asking the questions and what they wanted to find out.

It was clear their RFP was designed to help them differentiate between the pre-qualified bidders, all of whom could have done the job. They didn’t repeat questions from the Request for Qualification and they didn’t ask fundamental questions that every bidder could answer with their eyes shut and wouldn’t tell the evaluators anything new.

The way to win this type of bid is to understand why they are asking the question, focus your answer and keep your writing tight, provide lots of details and supporting evidence, not fluff. On top of that, you need to format and structure your answers to make the key information clearly visible to the evaluators.

You want them captivated and nodding their heads up and down as they read while they mumble. ‘finally, someone who gets it…..”

This is also a really good tip for clients before they sit down and write their RFP. Think about how to differentiate your bidders. It makes it much easier to make a decision.

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