How To Respond To A Request For Proposal (RFP)

rfp request for proposal contract bidding

The Request for Proposal (RFP) process leads to trillions of dollars in contract awards each year. In fact, the United States government alone awards roughly $550 billion per year. Add in the purchasing power of the private industry and we are in the trillions. 

Becoming an expert in RFP responses gives your company a leg up in the bidding process. The last thing you want is your company’s bid to get thrown out for missing an important detail. 

Read on to learn 5 key facts you need to know about RFPs to improve your odds of winning contract awards. 

1. Stand Out From Your Competitors 

Your company should seek to create an RFP response that stands out. If your bid blends in with the others, it is less likely to be selected as the winner. 

This is why the RFP narrative section is so important. Here is your opportunity to make a compelling case of why your company meets the requirements best. Use this space to tell a story about the issue and why your product or service is best suited to fix it. 

2. Use Compelling Visuals 

Writing a great narrative is certain to help your cause. However, the average reader tends to lose interest over time. Writing tends to be monotonous and is boring to some. 

Mix in some compelling visuals to help tell your story. This includes graphs, photos, or any other imagery that support your bid. These visuals will help break up your written narrative and keep the reader engaged. 

3. Speak To The Buyer’s Values 

Every buyer, even the federal and state government, is motivated by a certain set of values. Look for these values in the buyer’s solicitation. 

Values are often revealed by certain emotions or even the purpose of the solicitation. There is often a problem statement in solicitations that can shed light on the buyer’s values. With this information in hand, tailor your RFP response to appeal to these values. 

4. Provide Cost Support 

Many buyers are strictly motivated by cost. Your company needs to include competitive pricing in the RFP response. 

For starters, provide detailed cost history to the buyer. This should include invoices on prior orders. 

If it is a cost-type contract, show the buyer how you control costs on the program. Explain how your company will achieve labor efficiencies and economies of scale on material. 

5. Carefully Review The Solicitation Requirements 

There are many cases in which the buyer throws out a good bid because it fails to meet the RFP requirements. An example of this includes failing to provide requested documents. 

Another example may be failure to address a specific section of the RFP. To prevent this, you should carefully read the RFP and respond to each section or request accordingly. Your company’s success in the RFP response process hinges on doing this. 

A Recap Of The RFP Response Process 

Preparing an RFP response is a valuable skill. Creating a quality response is certain to help you win contract awards. Tips like using compelling visuals go a long way to that end. 

If you enjoyed this article about the RFP response process, check out our blog for more great content on bidding, contracts, and sales.

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