An RFP is about more than pricing. It’s a way to help a client understand the value of the partnership
You’ve cracked the nut, and requests for proposals (RFPs) are starting to come in from property managers and HOAs. The good news is that you’re lining up potential new clients. The challenge is to make sure you provide what these prospects need so they can decide you’re the best choice.
The purpose of an RFP is for clients to vet a vendor’s services and offerings. The company gets an opportunity to promote its unique benefits. Here are some tips on how to write a proposal that will win the business.
Elements of a perfect RFP
Forbes reports that the RFP process revolves around clarity. A vendor might already have the start of a relationship with a property management company or an HOA, but the RFP will give them a closer look at the organization. In some ways, it’s the first impression. Service providers can show they’re capable and professional when they focus on clarity. The best way to accomplish this is to make sure to fully understand what the customer wants to accomplish. The RFP should successfully communicate four key elements.
- It’s in the best interests of clients to provide a detailed understanding of what they’re looking for. The best way to accomplish this is with some good old-fashioned storytelling. Ask for additional information if they don’t provide sufficient background about the job. Information that’ll be particularly helpful includes what might have been previously tried.
- This is a request, meaning the property management company or HOA is asking for information about how the vendor can help them solve a problem. So the vendor should confidently understand the purpose of the request after reading it or ask for clarification about anything that isn’t spelled out.
- A clear understanding of the purpose for the RFP allows a company to confidently and successfully demonstrate with a proposal that it can help the customer achieve the goal of the RFP.
- You can’t manage what you don’t measure. It’s crucial to know the evaluation criteria that the property management company or HOA will use to make their selection.
A vendor’s ability to provide a potential client with the information needed to make a decision goes far beyond cost. The details provided help justify the investment they’ll make into the requested services. The company should always be prepared to manage the client’s expectations.
Preparing to engage in the RFP process
Workers taking time away from other important business operations to respond to an RFP should remember that their competitors are too. This effort should provide a return on the investment that is made in the process.
Sure, the company knows what its rates are. It knows how its people operate, and the efficiencies they use for cost effectiveness – but can it articulate this in a document? In many ways, the responses it provides to a property management company or HOA are a distillation of how a vendor operates its business. Its ability to succinctly communicate why it is the best solution will also demonstrate how it will perform for them.
The request may be expected to follow a specific format, but it should ultimately provide a narrative that offers these key value points:
- Information about the company.
- What about the company makes it a better choice than a competitor?
- The company’s unique value proposition – why no one else is a better choice.
- Explanation of the pricing structure.
Standing out from the competition
Most property management companies and HOAs use the RFP process to procure common services such as landscaping, security, or maintenance. It’s easy to think that these potential clients know all about how an industry works, but vendors shouldn’t make that assumption. They should be prepared to use the responses in their proposal to educate, and focus on explaining their why.
One of the first and most important steps a company should take after receiving an RFP is to do a deep dive into understanding the new potential client. What can a little research find out about them? An objective of the RFP process is to help a property management company or HOA feel confident that the prospective vendor knows who they are.
That’s extremely important in this industry because the service provider will end up representing the client. Building tenants or neighborhood homeowners will observe the company’s efforts. The clients’ reputations rest in its hands. So it should be sure to communicate in its responses to the RFP that it is aware of this responsibility and takes it seriously. It’s a powerful way to differentiate itself from the competition. Simplify the RFP process and never miss an opportunity to bid on a new project. Learn how VendorSmart℠ can help you gain access to associations that are looking for your services.