It’s not uncommon for large companies and government organizations, including commercial construction companies and municipalities, to solicit bids to service providers for the completion of a project. Known as a request for proposal (RFP), this formal request is used to pitch projects to other businesses. It’s called an RFP because the company or organization is “requesting proposals” for the completion of a project, such as the construction of a new apartment complex, hospital, clinic, hotel, civic center or other building. RFPs aren’t limited to construction though. Software development, freight and transport, and even management teams can be handled through the request, bid, pitch process. If your business relies on RFPs to generate revenue, you should follow some basic tips to market your services and secure more contracts. Otherwise, the soliciting company or organization may award the contract to one of your competitors.

Read and Understand the Requirements of the RFP

Before responding to an RFP, you should first read it to better understand what the soliciting company or organization requires. Each RFP has its own unique requirements, and you’ll have a greater chance of securing a contract if you’re able to demonstrate your business’s capabilities of fulfilling those requirements. Once you’ve identified the requirements of the RFP, you can create a custom proposal that explains why your business is the right choice for the project.

Use a Professional Cover Letter

While not necessarily a requirement for creating a business proposal, using a professional cover letter will differentiate your business from other competitors bidding on the same project. The cover letter consists of an opening statement, followed by a body and closing paragraph.

Write an Executive Summary

You should also include an executive summary in your business’s proposal. Some business owners assume that an executive summary is the same as a cover letter, but this isn’t true. The executive summary should provide an overview of why the soliciting the company or organization should choose your business. Basically, this section of your business proposal should describe the soliciting company’s or organization’s challenge and how your company can solve it.

Explain Your Deliverables Strategy

Perhaps the most important element of a business proposal is the deliverables strategy. As the name suggests, this section details your business’s strategy to deliver or complete the soliciting company’s or organization’s project requirements. Among other things, this section should include a breakdown of the requested tasks, as well as the date on which you can start them and the date on which you expect to complete them. You can then include the price — the amount you expect to be paid for the project if you secure the contract — in a closing summary section.

Provide Proposal in a Timely Manner

The sooner you provide the soliciting company or organization with your proposal, the better. Most RFPs allow businesses to provide their business proposal within a specified time frame. However, providing the soliciting company or organization with your business proposal early shows that your business is serious about the project and wants to secure the contract.

Utilize Professionally Designed Materials

The look and feel of your website, business cards and collateral design go a long way to demonstrating your professional presence in the field. Evaluators will look at the design of your RFP, whether it’s printed and hand delivered, or sent by PDF. Careless layout or contrast between your logo and the orientation of the rest of your materials can be read as skipping details.

Put your best RFP forward through quality design. Call me direct at 303.505.4242 and we can review your marketing materials together.