Winning at the RFP process
Insider Tips on Avoiding Mistakes We See Every Day
Make your response obvious. Don't leave the College guessing where your responses are; adhere to the format of the RFP.
Be as precise as possible. Don't confuse the evaluators with lengthy statements of qualifications or use jargon other than what the RFP uses; don't make the College call for clarification.
Be sure your response is complete. Carefully read every part of the RFP to determine EXACTLY what the College wants; know precisely how they will be evaluating you, and then, speak their language! Use a checklist to be sure you have included all the necessary paperwork.
Ask questions! If you don't understand what they are asking, ask! There is generally a defined question and answer period in every RFP. Use it! Be sure there is NO DOUBT in your mind about what they want.
Put everything you have into the proposal. DO NOT assume you will have a chance to negotiate later. Although the RFP process may include negotiations, don't count on it!
Be prepared with alternatives if necessary. As the College gains more understanding of the service or product it is requesting during its review of the submitted proposals, it MAY be willing to consider other options. Be prepared to rework and reprice your proposal. Be sure that a person with the authority to negotiate or provide more information is reachable by the College during the evaluation period.
Use your expertise to enhance your product or service. You know your product best—now help the College understand what it is you can do for them.
Understand the state law concerning “trade secrets.” A challenge for many states is the need to preserve the public's right to know, while at the same time protecting an officers proprietary information or trade secrets. What protection does state law give trade secrets, and what is required to demonstrate the need for it?
Understand the evaluation system. Know exactly how the evaluation process will work and how points will be assigned. Are there any ways you can earn extra credit?
Be sure your complete response is delivered on time. If you use the U.S. mail service, be sure to call the College to find out if the proposal was received. Be ready to make alternative deliveries if necessary. Offers submitted after the designated Closing date/time, will not be considered, and will be rejected.