Who’s Afraid of the RFP?

In truth? So many are afraid of the RFP. I get it! The RFP can be scary for a lot of reasons. The stress and pressure to deliver a winning response might feel like too much to handle. Maybe this RFP surprised you and you aren’t as prepared as you would like to be. Maybe you feel completely unprepared or unequal to the task. Or maybe you lost on the last bid. All of this and more amounts to more fear and panic when a new RFP drops.

But maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t have to be that bad.

What if I told you there are ways to ease the panic and strain of receiving the RFP? Or, what if I told you there’s some work you could do ahead of time to more easily resist the urge to run away? Is there such a thing? Yes! So, take a breath, and let’s talk about a few things that will ease the burden of receiving that RFP.

Get your capture processes in place. Pre-RFP planning is absolutely critical. Then, keep the momentum going after submitting an RFP response. You always have customer relationships to nurture, maintain, or renew. Get busy on that next big proposal before the RFP comes.

Engaging your proposal team early in the process also works wonders. Put the right team members in place, not just those who are available. If the opportunity is important, as it almost always is, then put the right people in the right role. This can be hard with small teams that have more to do than work on the proposal; but putting the right people in place early can help ensure a more promising result.

Discipline yourself. Responding to RFPs requires diligence and is not for the faint of heart. Discipline means that you don’t procrastinate. I dare say that most of the panic you may feel when the RFP comes is because you procrastinated on these other steps. Nothing causes more worry and frustration at a submission deadline than procrastination. So, find that discipline and put those processes into practice.

Don’t be afraid to say, “no bid.” Not every opportunity is worth pursuing and that’s not a bad thing. I’m not saying you should give up when things get hard, but I am saying that sometimes you may be trying too hard to make something work. Be honest with yourself. If you don’t have the right resources, timing, or solution, then don’t be afraid to say “no.”

Use these few steps to help ease the panic and frustration of the RFP that’s coming. Don’t be afraid of the RFP. Look it in the eye, prepare, and win!

Want to know more about how to prepare for an RFP? Check out the Shipley’s webinar The RFP is coming!