Sometimes the best deal is no deal.
- Is this opportunity a good fit for you from a strategic point of view (e.g.., does it support your personal brand, does it open a new market, would winning it provide credibility with other prospects, is it a good fit for your portfolio career)?
- Is the client really looking for a new partner or is this a way for them to get some free consulting/fresh ideas that they will turn over to the “winner?”
- Is this a proposal that can be won with a strong value proposition or is the decision going to be made on the basis of money? And do you care?
- Is the incumbent participating? If not, why not?
- What’s the client’s financial situation? And the corollary to that one, is this a client you would be proud to be associated with?
- Did you influence the RFP specifications in some way? If you didn’t, who did? And did that person or organization insert specifications that make it a bad deal for you?
- What is their budget? Why are they issuing an RFP?
- Do you understand the decision process? If so, are you in a good position?
In many cases, the consultant driving the RFP or the company itself (if it is working without a consultant) may put something in the document that says you can’t ask questions or get additional information (or that you have to go through the consultant). Your goal in those situations should be to change the ground rules and find out all you can about this opportunity. In a future blog, I’ll talk about ways you can do that and still get the business.
If you want it.