Ghosting the competition is an advanced proposal skill. It involves explaining why the customer should not select your competitors. Here are some examples of the wording you can use to do that covering many proposal sections. Click here for an explanation of techniques for ghosting the competition.
Use care when ghosting the competition and note how important it is to offer a differentiated solution that shows why the customer should select you before pointing out that it is also a reason why the customer should not select a competitor.
- One of the things we’ve learned about doing [fill in the blank] for [fill in the blank] is the importance of [fill in the blank]. If a contractor does not [account for|anticipate] doing this, [consequences].
- At [fill in the blank] we developed techniques for overcoming the challenge of [fill in the blank]. This enables us to prevent [fill in the blank]. These techniques include [fill in the blanks]. If a contractor has not developed techniques for [fill in the blank] you will be at risk for [consequence] during the [project activity].
- We require all of our Project Managers to make contributions to our [lessons learned database]. The result adds value to our experience and makes it tangible. We do not claim years of experience while delivering inexperienced project staff. The project staff working on your project will have access to this valuable store of problems to anticipate, risks to mitigate, and ways to address issues that occur.
- We have exceeded the number of key personnel required by the RFP by adding [positions]. We have named the staff who will fill these positions and are committed to delivering them. This means that on the project start date, we will deliver more than our competitors and less recruiting risk. It also gives you better insight into what you will be getting than other contractors offer to you.
- We have identified staff and provided resumes for all of the positions required for this contract. If we win, we will either hire and use the incumbent staff or use the proposed staff, depending on your preferences. This means that we actually offer less chance of positions not being filled (for example due to turnover) than the incumbent, more choice of qualified required staff qualifications and capability, and significantly better value.
- We have reduced the recruiting required and substantially mitigated the risk of not being ready at the project start date, by naming half of the staff required to perform this contract. A contractor that does not do this has double the risk that we offer.
- We considered [approach option] but ultimately rejected it because of [reason]. Instead we have chosen [another option] that delivers [result] with less risk of [trade-off]. A contractor who bids [approach option] will be delivering a higher risk of [trade-off] that could in turn [consequence].
- By using [tool] we completely remove the risk of manual errors, while simultaneously lowering costs. This is significant, because otherwise lowering costs using manual approaches requires either using fewer staff with higher workloads, or using less experienced staff, with either approach increasing the risk of manual errors.
- We designed our approach to solve the problem of [problem] by [techniques]. If this is not addressed, then [consequence] is likely to occur. While it is slightly more expensive to do this, it is far less expensive than fixing things when [problem] occurs. A contractor that does not do this will not only be ultimately more expensive, but they will also cause disruption to [customer].
- Our transition accounts for everything required, while completing in half the allowed time. Faster start-up adds value and significantly reduces the risks of not completing the transition on schedule. A transition plan that requires all of the allowable time exposes [customer] to risk if any transition activities, such as recruiting, take longer than expected.
- Our transition plan addresses updating project procedures to incorporate [new RFP requirements]. Even the incumbent can’t be ready on “Day One” because they too will need to make changes based on the new RFP. A contractor that does not account for these changes is basing operational readiness on flawed assumptions that could disrupt the project start.
- By using a transition team separate from the operational project management team, we ensure that RFP requirements will be met during the transition period. A contractor that does not do this will be relying on staff to develop infrastructure while also fulfilling operational requirements. This is an unreasonable expectation that our approach resolves.
- We have reviewed the performance standards required in the RFP and in several key areas have improved on them. We are voluntarily accepting more difficult performance measures. This matters, because a [%] difference in performance results in a [%] difference in [availability|errors|other impacts]. A contractor that merely meets the requirements will result in [consequence].
- Our approach to quality management not only fulfills the RFP requirements, but will also surface relevant metrics that will support making data-driven decisions. [Customer] staff will have full access to this data in order to better pursue your mission.
- Our quality surveillance approach collects data and documents findings. The result is full transparency regarding what was checked, when it was checked, what was found, and what was done about it. This extra effort reduces the burden on the customer to oversee our work, provides historical data regarding trends, can be used in predictive analysis, and helps ensure that lessons learned get applied. A contractor that merely claims to have a quality surveillance approach without doing this will have nothing to show for it if it is actually performed.
- We have itemized in detail the reach-back resources available to this project. Companies make a lot of claims about resources, while at the same time making as few promises as possible. This is especially true regarding personnel and reach-back resources. Large companies with huge staffing counts can be just as resource poor as a small business because nearly all of those staff are billable and fully committed. The resources we have identified are available and will be deployed when needed.
- Like all companies, we delegate authority to different levels of management. What we do differently is that we escalate authority regarding resource allocation based on how long an issue has been unresolved. As the escalation table below shows, we also escalate issues all the way up to the CEO. We do this automatically. Companies that don’t describe how they escalate issues can hide them and delay in the hopes that a resolution will somehow occur.
- Our resources have been tailored to your environment and needs. This is important because [describe problem with generic or off-the-shelf resources]. When resources aren’t tailored, they can result in [consequences]. If a contractor has not described how their resources have been tailored, then you are at risk for these issues.
- Our pricing accounts for the following [issues]. Pricing that does not account for those issues will [not be compliant|have higher actual cost|be unreasonable|not be technically acceptable] because [reasons, give them the math].
- In preparing our pricing we determined that there are several pricing strategies that could lower the numbers while introducing unacceptable risks.
- In preparing our pricing we calculated that below [number] it would not be possible to [hire the incumbent staff|perform|fulfill the requirements] because it would require [pricing x% below market|overhead below x%|other reasons]. Our pricing is above this threshold, but not excessively so. Pricing below this threshold exposes [customer] to unreasonable risk of [default|delay|other reasons].
Low price technically acceptable (LPTA)
- Our approach delivers [results] by [differentiated details] in order to ensure [goal] in spite of the risk of [describe risk]. When this happens, the impact results in performance that is not technically acceptable. A contractor that has not accounted for this and included it in their pricing is not being realistic or technically acceptable.
- Our solution includes [feature]. Without [feature] [describe negative outcome]. While the RFP does not specifically reference [feature], it is necessary in order to achieve the required goal. A proposal that does not mention [feature] and account for it in the price will not fulfill the requirements and therefore is not technically acceptable.