The key questions to ask to produce a great proposal are as follows:
- Where’s It Come From?
- Are We In?
- Who’s Involved?
- What Do They Want?
- What Do We Need?
- How Can We Deliver?
- Who Should Deliver?
- When Do We Need to deliver
- What Do We Deliver
- Where Do We Deliver
Let me explain them a little further…
Where’s It Come From?
Where a Request for Information or Tender comes from is very important. If it comes from a journal such as OJEC in Europe it requires much more effort than if it comes from a current client who is not looking elsewhere for the work to be done and just wants a rundown of what is needed and the costs.
If it’s a response from a previous customer it may be treated differently to a current customer, or to a prospect you’ve been trying to deal with for years.
The source dictates how much resource and effort you need to put into the next 9 questions.
Are We In?
The very first question to ask is whether we actually want to commit our time and resources to answer the request for information (RFI) or reply to a tender. For example,if we lack industry knowledge that makes it impossible for us to deliver there’s no point in putting effort into responding.
Also, will the prospect meet with you if you’ve queries is an important point as there’s usually some questions that are best answered by face to face meetings.
It’s rare that one person in your company is responsible for making the “Are We In?” type of decision, so it’s best to have a meeting of all interested parties to decide. And if the decision is to go ahead the same group of people can answer many of the required questions.
If the decision is not to go ahead all that needs to be done is to document why, so the company can learn from the experience and also write a letter to the prospect thanking them and explaining why you’re not going to go further with the project.
And one thing to remember is that if the company you’re responding to dramatically changes their RFI or Tender request you may want to meet up again to see whether you wish to respond now.
In my next post I’ll write about who needs to be involved in replying to an Request for Information (RFI) or Tender.