Having been on both the submission and judging side of marketing, advertising and public relations Request for Proposals – or RFPs – I have a little insight into winning the business.
A considerable amount of time, billable hours and money go into these submissions, and they are very competitive. It is imperative that you get it right.
But so many people get it wrong. I am consistently amazed when large, globally recognized, award-winning agencies fumble some basic fundamentals.
You want to win, right?
Here are a few tips:
- Never let a junior employee complete an RFP on your behalf. It does a disservice to your brand, and it is a complete waste of time.
- Before you begin the submission look very carefully at how the points are allocated. You will quickly ascertain what is most important.
- Read the question carefully and make sure your answer specifically addresses what is being asked. Put yourself in the position of the judge who is reviewing countless other submissions. Did you get all the points that you could, or did you give some up by being vague or not following directions?
- Be very specific. Do not answer a question with, we specialize in brand activation and storytelling. Instead, give me an example of how you elevated a client’s brand with a unique strategy that produced quantifiable results.
- Make it very easy for the judge to find your supporting materials.
- Be aware that your competitors are going to do whatever it takes to win. For example, don’t just mention doing a radio spot or video as one strategy. Actually put one together.
- Do your research and then show it.
- Bring a senior representative with you to the oral presentation.
- Stand up when you present.
- Leave the judges with your complete presentation.
And one bonus since we should always turn it up to 11. Be exceptionally strategic and creative. If you are not prepared to kick ass then pass.