Join Judy Steiner-Williams for an in-depth discussion in this video External solicited, part of Writing Proposals.
- In a way these External Solicited Proposals, the one's in response to the RFP are the easiest to write. Because you know exactly what to include, and what order to include it by when it needs to be submitted. And you don't have to overcome the need to persuade to reviewer to read it. However, you may encounter potential difficult aspects. First, the RFP may not be clear, so trying to interpret the wording, and having a complete understanding of what the needs and expected outcomes are can be challenging.
Also the reviewers may have personal biases for or against certain companies that submit the proposals. Another element over which the proposal writer has no control is whether the receiving company has a full-time person who is knowledgeable in comparing proposals. Sometimes called a procurement professional. Or with someone with little or no expertise be comparing and contrasting the proposals. Just realize that even though you did everything correctly, you may be facing other elements, over which you have no control.
However, be sure to do all you can over those elements you do have control. Although not a specific, how to write a proposal guideline, being familiar with how RFPs are issued and analyzed can be helpful in seeing the overall picture. The solicited proposal may be an open RFP, anybody can submit a proposal. These are more common in government, which means you will probably have more competition. Or, closed RFP, one issued to specific, invited companies only. For profits are more likely to send the closed RFPs.
To add to the mix, RFPs are available in both the private and the public sectors. The difference, the public ones are usually related to the government and public colleges and universities. You can found those posted on the organizations website, because posting them is almost always required. Private companies and nonprofit organizations usually operate with fewer restrictions, and because they're not required to make their RFPs public knowledge, you may need to contact the companies directly for proposal opportunities, and get put on an approved vendor list.
The time frame to prepare the proposal can also vary based on whether the proposal is public or private. With the private usually requiring less detail, which results in a shorter decision-making process. The proposal writing process for the public RFPs however, are generally more efficient because a single template is used for all projects, and the process is more predictable. Regardless of open or closed, public or private, if the proposal doesn't follow the requirements set forth, is incomplete or sounds unprofessional.
Or has the appearance of being hurriedly prepared. It may get only a cursory glance. The reviewer may have three or four, or dozens of competing proposals, so really doesn't need yours. Often the quality of the proposals sends a loud medi-communication message. If you don't take the time to make sure this proposal is the best you can do, then there's always the risk that this lack of median expectations will carry over to the way you, or your company, will perform the actual services, or complete the proposed project.
Not the initial impression you want to give. The contract may be awarded to the winning company, based only on the proposal. However, more commonly, some of the proposals will be put on a shortlist, and those submitters will be asked to interview with the selection committee, and the project specifics will be discussed in more depth. Open or closed, public or private, each solicited proposal you submit must fully support your claims, emphasize your companies strengths. You can outshine all the competition with a well-written, thorough, professional solicited external proposal.
- Reading the RFP and asking questions
- Understanding different proposal types
- Following the writing process
- Connecting the dots
- Researching the company
- Using the client's jargon
- Understanding what parts to include
- Following up on a proposal