Submit a Killer Request for Proposals (RFP)
What’s Wrong with Current Request for Proposals?
Requests for Proposals is a norm in my industry and I often review job board RFPs as I market for new clients. In order to respond effectively to this proposals I wish potential clients would give me more information.
It is difficult to know whether it is worth my time to respond if I don’t know some of the following items:
1. Pricing Strategies. What is your budget?
Since I deal more as a Operations Manager rather than a general services virtual assistant my price point is higher. When I spend time to craft a response to the RFP, go through the first client contact and then am told that I am charging more than they can afford I feel that I have wasted their time and mine.
List in your RFP that you are looking for someone to assist and give a budget. Can you realistically afford someone between $15 – $25 per hour. Let them know so you can get high quality contacts that are within that price range. If you can afford $40+ per hour that lets your higher end contractors know that you mean business and are willing to pay for exceptional work.
Another point is to make it clear if you are looking for a daily/monthly rate or hourly rate. Many freelance operations managers work by monthly retainer.
2. What are you really looking for?
So the RFP states the client is looking for administrative assistance and logistics management. It is disconcerting when the first phone contact is made and I find out they are really looking for bookkeeping and receipt management. That is a completely different beast. I always counsel a potential client to take a week (or a month) to write down repetitive tasks that they do (or don’t do but should) that someone can assist them with.
Have a clear understanding of what you are really looking for and a plan of action of what you want to achieve. If you have a business coach, speak to them first. I am sure they will have plenty of ideas to maximize your time and effort.
3. Be willing to say NO!
Personally and professionally I find it frustrating to submit a response to a RFP, taking my time and energy to fashion it to meet the needs of the clients, and then hear nothing. Even with several follow ups, nothing. It is okay to say “I chose to work with another provider”.
Another option, “No, I am not interested at this time”. Or if the response really sucks, tell the person that they didn’t answer your questions or meet your needs. It will sting but business life will go and and I am sure the next one will be better.
I recently reviewed an RFP that was excellent. After reading it thoroughly and seeing how much they offered per month for the work, their work hour expectations and the type of help they request I knew that it was not a RFP that I wanted to respond to. This saved me time and saved the client time since they didn’t have to review and delete my email.
Ask for These 3 Things in Your Request for Proposals
First include your budget, how much can you spend? Then isolate what you really want in a their service provider. Give a response in a manageable time frame so they can know whether to move on or be available for you as a new client!