Start Outlining Your Proposal Without An RFP

Even without an RFI you can outline your proposal and begin the proposal process. In fact, the earlier you start the better off you’ll be when the RFP is released. While your less aggressive competitors are struggling to understand the requirements you’re correcting any discrepancies that may exist between what you anticipated being required and what is actually being required.

We’ll assume you’re not submitting a proposal to a totally new procuring activity. We’ll also assume that you know the customer and that they know you. You know the RFP is coming and because of your close association with your customer you have a pretty good idea what’s in it. You also have a good idea of the customers buying preferences.

I’m a stickler for following RFP Section L to the letter. Someone has put those requirements in there and in that order for a reason. It may not make sense to you and it may not look pretty but it’s there and chances are that whoever put it there will look for your response there, don’t aggravate a reviewer. With that said, you now have the opportunity to build the proposal as you would like to present it so create you solution to show off you’re your Sunday best. Regardless of what happens in the coming weeks or months you won’t have wasted time. Once you have the RFP in hand you can reorder it to suite the requirements, all of you themes, discriminators, text and graphics will still be useful.

One final word of advice, don’t leave past performance and resumes for the last minute. They too should be tailored to the procurement and that takes time. If your customer wants references you should contact them first not only to know what they’re going to say but to make certain they’re a willing participant. Yours isn’t the only proposal being submitted.

The ah-ha in all of this is that I’ve assumed you know your customer well enough to know and understand what they want and why they want it. I’ve also assumed that you know the importance of starting early especially is there is an incumbent or a favorite and neither one is you.

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