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How To Respond to an RFP

by Tracey D'Aviero

posted in Business

Syndicate This Article
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Recently I put out a job request and every time I do, I am reminded that not everyone knows exactly how to respond to a one. Or to an official Request for Proposal.
So today we are going to cover just how to do it properly.
When someone sends out a job request of any kind, they are usually looking for specific skills.
Now sometimes they send out a laundry list of skills with the hope that one person can do it all. But most of the time they will realize that they need more than one person.
If the potential client is smart, they will tell people to respond with whatever skills they have so that they then the client can make the choice of whether to go with one, two, or more contractors.
So our responsibility as the contractor is to be clear, concise and direct.
I have seen so many responses to job requests or RFPs that are a mess, and that's why I offer you the following tips (view me as the potential client):
1. Apply only for things you know how to do well. Exceptionally well. Unless the client says they are willing to pay you to learn what they are asking for help with, do not bother replying. When someone puts out a job request they are looking for someone to hire who has the skills the need. They undoubtedly have to sift through many (hopefully!) applications. Don't waste their time by telling them you can learn something.
2. Respond to their exact needs. If the job posting lists several skills and you have some, let them know clearly and distinctly that you have those skills, and give them examples of how you have used them.
3. Do not send them your resume. Ever. Can I say that again? Just don't. You are not applying for a job. You are a business owner. Even if they ask for one, don't send it. You should have your skills already listed on your website or online presence (LinkedIn profile if your website is not yet active). Your resume is a big no no. Just don't send it.
4. Don't tell someone to 'go and learn more about you' on your website. Give them all of the information they need in your reply to their RFP. They will go and look at your website and Google you (I always do) but don't MAKE them do it. Give them everything they asked for in your response. Make it easy for them to consider you for the job.
5. Give them only what they ask for. When people are putting out a job request, often they will get a lot of replies. The more succinct you make yours, the easier it will be for them to shortlist you. Clarity is key!
These suggestions aren't meant to discourage you from responding to an RFP. They are meant to encourage you to do it properly.
The people who are looking for support are busy, and often overwhelmed with the task list in front of them. Do your best to let them know that you can help them get rid of that overwhelm.
By sending a challenging response to their request, you add to their overwhelm, you will surely go to the bottom of the list.
Make sure you don't by following these few tips.
And of course, don't be shy to respond to any RFP. The business owner is asking for help, it's a vulnerable position to be in. If you have two skills on a list of ten they are asking for, be clear that you can help exceptionally with those two.
And good luck! There are so many RFPs out there!
About the Author: Tracey D'Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Tracey trains and mentors professional women and men who are brand new to the VA industry or who have been struggling to make their business successful. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to build and grow successful and profitable virtual businesses in the VA industry by implementing systems and smart principles. To get information about Tracey's upcoming programs and free resources, visit: Your VA Mentor Events.
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