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Call and Response: Handling RFP Tension : Comments

By Nick Gould

August 29, 2005


Donna Maurer

August 29, 2005 10:40 PM

Can I add just one extra point. Clients are really looking for ways to reduce the pile of proposals down to one. Don’t assume you are so fabulous they automatically want to work with you and neglect the detail in the paperwork. If there is something missing or a requirement not met, it makes it easy for the client to put it in the ‘no’ pile.

And if you do miss out, ask for feedback. You’ll never learn what you did wrong otherwise.

Scott Swabey

August 29, 2005 11:26 PM

I personally find RFP’s a daunting challenge, especially for new clients. It’s akin to sitting a job interview with no knowledge of the position you are applying for in many cases. The RFP often contains little or no tangible information to base a proposal on, and the amount of effort required to discover the information is a cost (time and/or money) that I can little afford.
I treat RFP’s, RFQ’s and other preliminary enquiries as an indication of the future working relationship with the client. If they are unable or unwilling to provide clear, accurate information from the outset then it is safe to assume that an ongoing relationship is likely to be high maintenace. Thankfully I am fortunate enough to be in a position where I can pick and choose my clients.


August 31, 2005 5:57 AM

I have to really agree with Donna – feedback is pretty vital, its damn annoying to loose a piece of work you really wanted (for what to you might be the silliest of reasons).

A few months ago I read a really interesting article dealing with some similar points like how to write a proposal for a client who refuses to give you a budget… does this ring any bells with anybody (I’ve lost the link).

mark rush

September 1, 2005 2:41 AM

We dont do Tender work anymore, as it just takes too much time, and design by commitee is always a ballache – instead we farm out RFP and project management to larger firms on the understanding that if they get the project we get the work – that way its not our time we’re wasting, and yess the profit margin is lower, but on the other hand, the larger organisations usually squeeze more cash from client accounts! Win-Win-Win

Danny Foo

September 1, 2005 6:16 AM

Great article that allowed to gauge a footing to creating a better proposal. It never did occur to me as well to ask clients for feedback of the proposal.

I got a question. Do we actually charge clients to prepare a proposal for them? If yes, then how’d I know what’s the appropriate price? Thanks.

Nick Gould

September 1, 2005 11:15 AM

Thanks for the great comments. Regarding proposal feedback, I’m amazed at how many clients refuse to give this information to the “losing” vendors. It would seem the least they could do for you after the effort that goes into responding to an RFP. My suspicion is that these decisions are often made by committee and no clear “reason” can be articulated for the outcome. Additionally, I always ask who clients ultimately hired and almost never get an answer. I still can’t figure out why this is. Are they afraid that I will try to talk them out of their choice? “Oh, you’re going with those guys... well, good luck.”

Danny, we never charge clients to prepare the proposal. I wish I could! In fact, most RFPs I receive these days specifically state that all work done to respond is on the vendor’s own time / dime.

Murt Gleeson

September 20, 2005 8:28 AM

I have written and managed many RFPs for larger companies, and the best advice I can give is that the recipient follows-up on any lack of quality he/she sees in the RFP process. This is always seen as professional.. as regards with being paid for the pitch, this is not unusual, with all getting paid for the pitch except the one who gets the job!

Sorry, comments are closed.

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