Re: Know of courses on writing RFP responses?

Subject: Re: Know of courses on writing RFP responses?
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2004 09:21:12 -0800 (PST)

"Clarence Gray" <> wrote ...

> I've recently been given the task of writing RFP responses for my company.
> I don't have any formal or informal background in marketing/sales.

> My question is: Does anyone know of a course in writing an RFP response
> that may help me out (particularly one online)? I'm located in Victoria, BC,

RFPs responses are more art than science. You have to READ the RFP very
carefully then build a response based on the requirements. Honestly, the best
RFP responses are authored by the people doing the work.

If you have been assigned this job, your first task should be to learn your
company's methods, structure, and services. An RFP is fundamentally a sales
document. Its selling your company and why you're the best to do the job.

There is no universal way to answer an RFP. Every RFP is different. Some are
more structured than others. Some are very simple. In 15 years of writing RFP
responses I don't think I've ever seen two that are alike.

Also, most RFPs are complete bullshit. The agency or department has no
intention of fairly considering proposals. They already have a company
pre-selected to do the work. The RFP process is merely a legal formality to
make it FEEL like there is a fair chance. A good RFP writer analyzes the market
and the RFP looking for tell-tale signs of "sweetheart" deals with these
pre-selected companies. For example, if they ask for an overly detailed project
plan, demand expertise in an arcane methodology, or demand to know detailed
information about the people working on the project, its very likely that the
company already has somebody in mind. Some companies actually help the
government agency design the RFP in such a manner that only that company can
win the bid. I didn't believe that until I saw it with my own two eyes.

After 15 years of writing RFPs and doing government jobs, it always amazes me
how deeply corrupt some government agencies have become. What's funny is how
they make everything look and feel so very fair. But there is no fairness

So, before you take a class and get all excited about styles and formats and
theories and such - read the RFP very carefully. Analyze it. Learn exactly what
they want. Then work with your company to build a response. You might find that
the best response is no response at all.

Andrew Plato

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