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  • The Top 10 ways to lose a proposal

    10) Start after RFP release. The winner has already started, the clock is ticking, and you don'’t have your act together? No bid.
    9) Start writing with the intent to improve the draft. You'’re going to write it wrong and then correct it with no way of knowing when it’'s right? No bid.
    8) Present things in a way that'’s “better” than what they ask for in the RFP. You're going to stray from being compliant, from giving things to them where they will be looking for it, and from how their evaluation forms will be structured? No bid.
    7) Run out of time. You’'re going to be so rushed at the tail end that you'’ll not only skip the “nice-to-haves” (that are really what’'s required to win), but you'’ll even skip proof reading and quality assurance and finally submit a document when you really don’'t know how good or bad (more likely) it is. No bid.
    6) Fail to incorporate your plans. You figured out what you need to do to win, what your solution will be, and what your message is, and then you set it aside to collect dust, unread. No bid.
    5) Compete against a better positioned competitor. Someone else knows the customer better. More importantly the customer knows them better. They know more about the procurement and have been working towards it longer. The customer doesn'’t even know your name. No bid.
    4) Fail to address things in the terminology of the evaluation criteria. The customer has not only told you what they want, but how they are going to score you during evaluation. You’'ve given them what you want to give them without concern for how they are going to make their selection. No bid.
    3) Don'’t know the customer well enough to give them more than they ask for.You’'ve read the RFP and feel you’'ve done an excellent job of addressing it. You will lose to someone who has not only addressed the RFP requirements, but why the customer put them in there in the first place. No bid.
    2) Drink your own bath water. Your internal staff tell you that the client likes you. But you haven’'t validated that the client likes you. You think because the customer likes you, they will like the proposal. But you haven'’t formally validated the proposal against the customers goals. You think because the customer likes you and will like your proposal, you feel you have a good chance of winning. But you haven'’t validated the proposal against the RFP, the evaluation criteria, any plan of what will be required to win, or any other metric. When you loose you will blame it on the customer’'s capriciousness. No bid.
    1) Be non-compliant. You're giving the customer what you have or what you want to offer instead of what they'’ve asked for. Or you'’ve simply overlooked something. Either way --- No bid.

    Carl Dickson
    By Carl Dickson, Founder of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY
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