Re: RFP best practices question

Subject: Re: RFP best practices question
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 09:21:11 -0600

My responses are interspersed with quotes from Dick's query.

> 1. Even if it involves passing a camel through the eye of a needle, we
> try to answer Yes to every question. Sometimes, if we're feeling frisky,
> we back off and give an honest No to one or two if they seem
> sufficiently unimportant.

Yes is obviously the answer you want to give most often. But if that Yes
is going to cost them more time and money, you need to make that clear:
set their expectations. In my case I'm pitching software, so I qualify
such Yes responses with remarks like "will require customization" etc.
Sometimes our No responses point to another product or company (with whom
we play nicely) that would be a more appropriate solution.

> 2. We never leave a Comment field blank, instead offering some innocuous
> explication of the feature that meets the specific requirement, even if
> a simple Yes would be logically sufficient.

Sometimes the question is so binary that any elaboration is obvious fluff,
but for the most part I do the same. It helps prove your willingness to
put time and effort into your response.

> 3. We defer all variable cost questions (those that require scoping,
> such as product customization) to a later stage in the process, unless
> the instructions threaten immediate disqualification for doing so.

Good approach, although I'm seeing more and more of those "give me a price
now, or else" questions, which are very difficult to answer without more
in-depth information than most RFPs provide. I alert the sales manager
who's fronting the pitch, and try to get him or her to A) get more info
and/or B) get some leeway from the prospect, allowing our responses to be
considered "preliminary, pending further discovery."

Hope this helps!

Keith Cronin
who, according to six different e-mails he received this morning, can
double the size of his - er - manly attributes, by simply clicking on the
appropriate link.


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