Seth Goldin just posted a very insightful blog concerning resumes.
“A resume,” he says, “is an excuse to reject you. Once you send me your resume, I can say, "oh, they're missing this or they're missing that," and boom, you're out.”
I believe Godin’s insight applies equally when a client notifies you that he intends calling for RFPs and asks you also to participate.
I can understand this when the sale of commodities is involved. But it has to be different where services are being bought. Because services involve standards and these do not lend themselves to straightforward comparisons.
Take a very simple situation of the business we’re in. The essence of our service is to investigate the target market for clients and to qualify and define the ‘ready to buy’ new customers. This involves much research, phone discussions, questions, answers and evaluation. All of which take up scads of time and one can simply not enter the cumulative set of activities into columns on a spreadsheet.
Godin’s point holds just as true for RFP’s. It’s just an excuse to pigeonhole you as another commodity.
He goes on to say ….
“Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for... those jobs don't get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.”
The same goes for selecting a new service provider. Rarely are great solutions delivered by those who present well written responses to RFP’s. Offer and execution are not the same.
(See also Purchasing Business Development Services by RFP).