In an RFP response, the client comes first.

Most companies  write their RFP responses all about themselves. Not only is it boring, but more importantly, it’s a formula for how to respond to an RFP and fail.

Continuing from our previous RFP response advice of Show Don’t Tell, we shift to another aspect that many people in the proposal game don’t follow—make it about your client, not you. Remember, while you’re trying to win business and impress with your experience, the focus of the RFP response is the clients 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?
It is important to know more than just their name and industry. When you think about how to respond to an RFP, 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 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 an RFP response, the chances are high that the client already knows a lot about you.

Most sales organizations have been trained to share as much information as possible about their company in order to sell themselves, including how to respond to an RFP. We often partner with service company providers to offer RFP assistance in the forms of consulting, writing, messaging, positioning, design and more. We emphasize, when we discuss how to respond to an RFP, that most organizations requesting one likely already know about who they’re requesting an RFP response from.

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.

Interested in getting the tools you need to stand out among the competition and winning the bid that will help your organization grow? Learn more about what we can do for your RFP content.

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.