Lesson 5: How to Read an RFP
What is the first thing you do when you receive an RFP? Do you print it? Do you look for the RFP schedule and deadlines? Then begin reading, taking notes, and creating a project plan and compliance matrix? Or do you roll your eyes and tell yourself you’ll look at it tomorrow?
What is the first thing you do when you receive an RFP?
Do you print it? Do you look for the RFP schedule and deadlines? Then begin reading, taking notes, and creating a project plan and compliance matrix? Or do you roll your eyes and tell yourself you’ll look at it tomorrow?
RFPs can be long, uninteresting, and less than user-friendly documents. It is so easy just to skim the RFP, only looking at the deadline and RFP title and falling into a state of complete overwhelm. All the above will lead to a proposal that is disorganized, irrelevant, and not compliant, butchering your chances of winning the business.
Even the smallest RFP can feel daunting without a plan. Following a system that provides a repeatable and practiced approach ensures efficiency and compliance, with as little stress as possible.
That being said, you don’t need to read the RFP in its given order, cover to cover. Approach reading the RFP like a project so you can organize your review in the manner that works best for you.
Here is the order in which we review RFPs:
- Cover page
- RFP schedule and important dates
- General overview
- Process overview, including submittal directions and signatures
- Scope, including related attachments
- Product and project delivery deadlines
- Terms and conditions, including RFP terms and conditions and contract terms and conditions
You can read the RFP in any order you wish. We highly recommend reading the full contents of the RFP during the process.
Taking an early look at what the client requires from your firm allows for plenty of time to collect and develop all of the necessary information. Carefully reading through requirements will also give you insight into your competitive advantages and potential constraints.
Formatting and delivery specifications are unique to each RFP and often require careful planning to comply. It is not enough to turn in an RFP by the deadline; the turn-in method must comply with what the RFP states explicitly, lest you risk disqualification.
It is essential to focus on the client when responding to the RFP, even if you think it would be better to do so differently. Reading a proposal can take more time than expected and be less than exciting. Once you know what you are looking for and have created a repeatable process, tackling RFPs and creating client-focused proposals becomes much more manageable.
Can we help you?
Do you struggle with RFPs? Do you wish you could hand your RFP process over to a professional? We offer proposal management, writing, editing, and review services along with overview and content assessments.
Schedule your complimentary strategy call today here: Contact-Us. We look forward to meeting you!