To Respond or Not to Respond: Everything You Need to Know About RFPs

Working with potential clients can have a lot of layers and uncertainties you will need to navigate. The biggest one is receiving an RFP, or Request for Proposal, and how you should deal with it.

There is no way to respond to RFFs that is always right or wrong. Breaking down the RFP will be crucial, but how do you do that? When is an RFP not worth responding to?

These are important questions, as RFPs are the gateway toward a potential client but they can also be a trap. Let’s go over the details.

When Is an RFP Unworthy of a Response

Not every RFP is worthy of a response. Anyone with your contact information can send them, so you will need to have a cutoff point to keep you from taking on too much work.

There are 3 basic questions you should ask when confronted with an RFP.

1. Was It Unsolicited?

Your time is precious, so if someone you don’t know or weren’t planning on working with sends you an RFP, it is time you could be spending elsewhere.

An unsolicited RFP could be a new opportunity, but without a previous rapport, you have no idea what the client may be like. Take caution.

2. Do You Have an Existing Relationship With the Client?

Sometimes you do have an existing relationship with the client in question. This can help the RFP process one way or another.

Was your existing relationship positive? Did a previous RFP from them turn out well? If your relationship is positive, and they pass the next step, then all is well. Be mindful of bad relationships, though, as they are often detrimental time sinks.

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3. It Is Too Much to Handle Right Now?

The last, and most important, item to consider is how you can respond to the RFP. Do you have the time and resources to even handle the RFP right now?

Taking on more work that you can complete is a good way to spoil a relationship. An overdue or low-quality action to an RFP can ruin your business’s reputation. Don’t overwork yourself.

How to Respond to RFPs

When you have found an RFP that is worth your time, you need to respond with a professional method and the appropriate details.

Go through these 3 simple steps to put your RFP response on a good level.

1. Read Carefully

Never agree to something you don’t understand. Read through every word in the RFP, making sure you have a strong grip on what they are asking, when they need a response, and what it means for you.

2. Break Down Components to Address

In your response, you need to be specific. This means when you refer to something in the RFP, don’t bog it down with general statements.

Break down each section of the RFP and respond with your own sections. This is a good time to clarify ideas and to offer suggestions.

3. Price Strategically

The last deal is to compare what is being asked with what is a reasonable price. Make sure you take in all your expenses alongside a competitive price.

Running Business With Precision

With a better grip on how to respond to RFPs, you’ll pass over a key barrier with many businesses. Client relations are a huge deal and it is not a natural talent for everyone.

That is fine, as a business of any size can always find help to improve itself. We here at The Startup Guys have a host of information and guides on all aspects of a burgeoning business. Check out our tools and resources to help your business succeed.