How to gain influence, build your advantage, and get ready to win before the RFP is even released

5 key areas leading to over 50 content items full of tips, examples, and useful guidance to help you win what you pursue

Getting into position to win before the RFP comes out requires preparation. Preparation doesn't just happen. The things you do before the proposal even starts can have a huge impact on your win rate. It makes more sense to focus on them than to rely on last minute proposal heroics. Here are links to five sets of tips that lead to even more content that can help you put just enough structure into place to be successful:

  1. Discovering what it will take to win. We think of sales as driven by charisma. But when the sale closes with a written proposal, sales is really driven by intelligence gathering. Charisma can be a part of that, but knowing what you need to know and discovering it is what determines the success of your sales efforts. What is even more important than charisma? It’s knowing what questions to ask and being able to ask them in such a way that the customer will want to answer them. Here are a bunch of tips and examples for doing just that.
  2. Gaining an information advantage. For proposals, an information advantage is the best competitive advantage you can have. The extent of your information advantage is how you can measure the real strength of your customer relationships. You can’t build an information advantage without knowing what information to gather and then gathering it. But it’s what you do with your information advantage when you do have one that determines whether you win or lose. Here are more than a dozen links with hundreds of potential questions and guidance for getting answers
  3. Influencing the RFP. How can you help the customer write an RFP that will get what they want? Have you even tried? Do you provide them with tips and recommendations? When you respond to a draft RFP, do you respond with self-serving questions or do you suggest requirements, instructions, and evaluation criteria that will help the customer, while also helping you to make sure the RFP contains more opportunities than problems for your company? Here are more links to ways to get ahead of the RFP and tips for influencing it.
  4. Bid/no bid decisions. How do you get past the fact that making effective bid/no bid decisions is vital, but at the same time sounds a lot like not bidding potential opportunities? Making effective bid/no bid decisions is more than vital. It has a huge impact on the fate of your company, whether your company grows strategically or like a weed, and how well positioned it will be for bigger and better opportunities in the future. But first you’ve got to herd the cats into a rational way to approach them. Here are over a half-dozen links with examples of bid/no bid decision criteria and tips for how to make your bid decisions more effective.
  5. Readiness reviews. How do you know if you are on track for being ready to win when the RFP is released? Simply holding monthly business development meetings can do more to harm your chances than help them. How do you introduce just enough structure without creating something burdensome? How do you tie asking the right questions to discover what it will take to win, gaining an information advantage, influencing the RFP, and making effective bid/no bid decisions all together? That’s what readiness reviews are for. Getting ahold of the process details is one of the benefits of becoming a PropLIBRARY Subscriber. But we freely share the concepts that drive implementing Readiness Reviews.
     

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Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing. The materials he has published have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a prolific author, frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn how to engage Carl as a consultant.

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