How Do Your RFP’s Stack Up?

For many of us, our ability to respond well to request for proposals (RFP) directly impacts our bottom line, but seeing how our response compares to others is not always possible. One step every business can take is comparing your proposals to each other. This kind of review can help shift priorities and refocus efforts into winning propositions.

Here’s a method we recommend:

Start at the beginning.
What is your relationship like with the prospective client? Is it good, bad or non-existent? Your connection to the client is one of the most important factors in winning work. If it isn’t favorable, a well-positioned response may not be enough. Consider if you’ve taken the right steps to mend the relationship. This should be heavily weighted in your review.

Reflect on how well you understood the project.
Did you meet with the client about the project? This is one of the most important steps in creating a winning proposal. Having a call or preferably a face-to-face meeting, will allow you to have an understanding of not only the project, but also the pressure points, challenges and most meaningful components to your potential client.

For example, if they’re concerned with schedule, your proposal needs to show how you can meet milestones and overall deadlines. Statistics, testimonials and a qualified team can support your argument.

Objectively consider how well your experience aligned.
Sometimes in responses, we make a leap. This is not a bad thing. However, if your experience is not easily connected to the project, you have a harder road ahead. You will be competing against others who do have the right experience, so make your case clearly – both in person and on paper.

Read it.
And, be honest. Look for the following:

  • Did you answer all their questions?
  • Was it organized in a way that followed the RFP?
  • Did you have a lot of grammatical or spelling errors?
  • Does your approach solve challenges the client faced?
  • Does your response clearly show you had applicable experience and an understanding of the project?
  • Did you ask for the work? From the cover letter to the last page, was it really clear that you wanted to get their business?


Dotted Line Marketing conducts independent reviews of RFPs. Contact us at to learn how we can help.