In an RFP response, the client comes first.

Let’s talk about why we’re so awesome at what we do. First, we’re really good at it. Second, we’ve been doing it for a long time. Third…Fourth…and everyone’s bored.

No, that’s not the work of children auditioning for a play. That’s how most companies write their Requests for Proposals (RFPs) responses. Yes, it’s boring, but most importantly it’s a formula for proposal failure.

Continuing on from our previous RFP advice of Show Don’t Tell, we shift to another aspect that many people in the proposal game don’t follow:  Making it about the client, not you! Remember, while you’re trying to win business and impress with your experience, the main focus is the client’s needs and how you can help them.

Before you fire off another proposal, stop and ask yourself these questions

  • How much do you know about the client?
    You can’t just know their name and industry. You have to do your research and learn everything you can about the trade and the client’s position in the market. You can then show them how you’ll elevate them to the next level.
  • What do you know about their competitors?
    Demonstrate you know their key competitors and how they differentiate. This will definitely get their attention in a good way.
  • What are their pain points?
    What has caused them problems in the past on similar projects? What is causing them problems now?
“Boilerplate responses end up providing generic, basic, and bland information. They do not help the team win proposals. In fact, over-reliance on boilerplate responses can actually decrease pWin (Probability of Win).” – Kevin Switaj
  • How will you solve those pain points?
    Why are you the solution as opposed to someone else saying the same thing? A completed job is great but a completed job plus something others can’t offer, is better.
  • What benefits will they get from you?
    You really need to show your value proposition (the thing that actually makes you better) and explain how it ties to them and what they’ll get in return.

Keep in mind, if your company has been asked to submit a proposal, the chances are high that the client already knows a lot about you

Most sales organizations, have been trained to share as much information possible about their company in order to sell themselves. We often partner with service company providers to offer RFP assistance in the forms of consulting, writing, messaging, positioning, design and more.

It takes discipline and a good understanding of your client’s pain points to make a response focused on your existing or potential client. Take a step back, do some more research and start by shoving all your company’s information to the appendix of your proposal.

About Weber Associates

Weber Associates is a Columbus, OH based consulting firm. Since 1985, we have blended the creativity of a marketing agency with the analytical rigor of a consultancy to help our clients significantly grow revenues and customer loyalty. People hire us to solve real sales and marketing challenges. To improve their sales process. To grab someone’s attention and selling something. In short, they hire us to make their marketing make more sales.