Guru Guidance Tips: How to Strengthen A Firm’s Qualifications Without Over-Embellishing
Relatively new to the industry, the mentee has been learning to tailor her firm’s qualifications to address the particular requirements and relevant “hot button” issues of each RFP. She asks her guru for advice on strategies for crafting proposal content to best emphasize the potential client’s points of interest and help draw attention to the most important information. How can she make sure not to cross the line between stretching the firm’s qualifications to tell the right story and over-embellishing the truth?
- Start by carefully reviewing the RFP and make an outline to ensure you understand its pieces.
- Then proceed with a Go/No-Go process: A strong go/no-go process will help to eliminate going after an opportunity your firm is unqualified for.
- Tell the truth. If you can’t meet a “hot button”, check with consultants to see if they can. Also verify with old proposals to make sure of your own firm’s qualifications. Take the time to know your firm and their history to make a Go/No-Go more efficient.
- Once you establish your outline (or “cheat sheet”), tackle the easy question first to get rolling. Then tackle the “weird” question next. Make sure you are answering the right questions.
- Request tailored information from you sub-team. Be sure to request early to allow them enough time. Also ask for materials from your own team early.
- Fact-check with multiple people to help ensure you have the correct data.
- Don’t plagiarize from other firms, and give credit where credit is due. If you were a member of a JV, give credit. If you use experience an individual had at a previous firm, make that clear.
- Remember that the truth comes out.
- Make a schedule for the proposal’s development to allow enough time to fact-check yourself and to have others review the proposal. Stick to that schedule, and even build in extra time.
- Always have someone else check your work.