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7 Tips for responding to a Request for Proposal

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If you have never responded to a bid or proposal, you will be forgiven for feeling like giving up, once you see the list of information required.

However, if you understand how the process works you can do a lot of the work up front and keep it up to date, to be pulled out at a moment’s notice (with a smug smile). It is important that you review it every time and find areas where you can tailor it to your specific customer, but standard certification, financial information and your company history should be kept up to date and available.

So apart from being proactive and gathering the standard information, here are 6 more things to keep in mind;

  • Know your competitors and your potential customers – where do you fit into the market and can you clearly identify your unique selling points? If you plan to target a specific customer, anticipate how you will be able to show your service or product to be beneficial to them
  • Answer all the questions – factual, in simple English and with evidence. When asking procurement specialist for their top tip, this came in at number 1.
  • Be clear about what makes you unique from your competitors – if you have done your proactive preparation, this should be a doddle and you will know exactly how to position your company to demonstrate this.
  • Be clear about the value you will bring to the customer – ask yourself, if I am the customer what is in it for me? How can you support their strategy, brand, mission or vision?
  • Stay within the rules and the time frames – trying to leverage an existing relationship to gain an advantage is not only unethical, but could see you disqualified. Responding 1 minute before the cut-off time, only gives a perception of poor planning. Pro-active preparation is key.
  • Spellcheck – Need I say more?

In summary, prepare, prepare, prepare and then give the clearest proposal that you can. On time. Spellchecked.

Written by: Elmarie Goosen, Seed Academy

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