A Winning RFP (Request for Proposal) Response Example
My friend Joey owns a small web design firm in Indianapolis. A few months back he emailed me to tell me he’d won a six-figure project. The company initially issues a Request for Proposal and he won it using a simple proposal template and Linkedin. We sat down to talk about his winning RFP response and below he’s provided some wonderful examples of what to do to repeat his success.
Here’s what an actual winning RFP response looks like:
1. Initial LinkedIn Message
You might be expecting a long, detailed proposal to be what wins you the job, but Joey actually credits something much simpler. Yes, he sent in a bid that had everything requested in the RFP, but something else made the difference.
The key was actually sending a simple Linkedin message after hearing about the project. It was something like this:
Hi my company is interested in submitting an RFP do you have any more information for me?
It doesn’t seem like much, but because Joey took the initiative to send this message, it opened up a dialogue and allowed him to build a much stronger relationship with the client.
2. Simple Follow Ups
Once you’ve opened up a line of communication via Linkedin, next it’s important to use it. That’s exactly what Joey did. He ended up getting additional insider information like when the RFP due date got extended, and why they were looking to do the project in the first place. Details that were not included in the initial RFP.
“Honestly, I was sort of fearful about coming off as pestering but I just wanted to make sure they had me in the back of their mind and knew they could reach out if they needed anything.
I always told them: “if you have any questions please reach out. if I don’t hear from you in the next couple weeks I’m going to reach out.”
This set the expectations on both sides and they’d immediately respond.
I wouldn’t respond every day, because that would be annoying but if you’re waiting and not getting any feedback, it’s perfectly fine to touch base every week or 2.”
3. Staying Connected
Because Joey connected with the client via Linkedin, he learned when they got funding, which had an effect on the client’s their budget amount. Joey also learned the following information outside of the RFP:
- How many responses the RFP director had received in total: just 6.
- The story behind how the project grew into a six-figure project (adding a second site on along the way), much larger than the original RFP specified.
- Why the RFP October deadline got extended: the client had changes in staff and needed more time to review the RFPs.
That information came in handy when it was time to send in his bid because he knew he was close to what they had in mind instead of just making a wild guess.
Another key to winning this RFP for Joey was his persistence despite a long sales cycle. Most agencies drop out or ghost the client once the project starts to go long.
Joey took another approach. He put himself in the clients shoes. He knew that great companies made decisions slowly. He knew that sometimes things changed, and companies got new information.
As such, he stayed professional and responsive.
Even though they delayed the hiring decision from October into November, into December, and finally, into January. Joey made sure to stay in touch every week or 2.
“Communication was incredibly important. Ultimately they made their decision based on how quickly they were able to communicate to questions.
When they had questions about adding a second site to the project, we were able to submit the update bid within a few hours, where as the other companies had taken more than 24 hours.”
Instantaneous communication was important to the client, so providing as much info as possible at the drop of a hat, helped them realize that Joey’s firm would provide excellent service throughout the project.
5. Playing the Odds
The biggest surprise Joey found in the process was that this six-figure project had only received 6 responses total.
You can’t control how many firms reply to an RFP, but you can improve your process with RFP templates and tools, so that you never miss an opportunity.
The best way to do that is to save as much time as possible. My new course Endless Clients, provides exactly that. We teach you how to find 10+ $10,000 RFPs in under 30 minutes whenever you want.
It’s currently closed but if you sign up here you can get a notification when we open up a new spot.
It’s important to put yourself in the right position and signing up here is the best way to get started.
“This six figure contract for our team of three will help sustain our company as we look to continue to grow.
We’re not looking to add designers or engineers so the money that we’ve made from it is going to pay our salaries and saving for a rainy day.
As an agency owner you have your ebbs and flows, and over the past 2 years theres been a lot of valleys… but landing a project of this size really helps us prepare for a better future. It’s helped us calm any stress and fears we had and approach our business calmly.
Without landing this project through Folyo we’d probably be in the same place we were 6 or 8 months ago, stressing to find as many projects to pitch as possible.
This is the biggest project we’ve ever landed on Folyo but I’ve been connected with a number of different people and opportunities to win work. So it’s been incredible.”
Listen to a Winning RFP Response Example
Like Joey, once you have a systematized process for responding to these RFPs, they can be almost a guaranteed way to add six-figures + to your bottom line.
There are many good organizations that have to go through an RFP process to hire anyone. And those are good jobs to go after. People who tell you they don’t go after RFPs and people who tell you they don’t have meetings are both lying to you. – Mike Monteiro, Design is a Job