You’ve just had a seemingly great meeting with a prospective customer. Now the big question becomes whether or not to complete a proposal request. How many times have you completed an RFP for an identified prospect that failed to go anywhere beyond you sending the proposal?
Perhaps you really didn’t have any chance of winning the business in the first place. In scenarios like this, your “prospect” may already have a relationship with one of your competitors, may be shopping around and comparing prices or may not have had a need for your product or service in the first place.
In other situations, a company seeking your proposal may be looking for information to present to their current provider to decrease their provider’s price or increase the value they are delivering. Whatever the situation, bidding for business under some of these conditions may expose the details and prices of your services and leave you feeling confused and frustrated.
Before you or your business prepare your next RFP, it will be important to walk through a few key steps before proceeding to help eliminate wasted time and to secure your next real opportunity.
1) Create a clear future: Have you determined next steps with your prospect after the proposal is submitted? Is there an agreed upon meeting time? Identify the necessary steps in your proposal procedure and make sure to walk the prospect through this process.
2) Fill in the missing information: Once your proposal process is determined, prepare a list of the information you need from the potential client. Prepare a specific list of questions that you need answered before your meeting.
3) Have you developed a real relationship? How did your meeting come about in the first place? Have you met with the right people to make the decision on the possible agreement? Suggest a meeting with the necessary decision-makers to fully understand their needs.
4) Does your request make a direct impact?: How will your product or service improve the current position of the client? Do they fully understand the critical goals and deliverables?
5) Walk when necessary: Be willing to move on and move on quickly when you don’t win a request for proposal or decide to not complete one. Your next successful opportunity will be waiting.