• Matthew Morek, 2 years ago

    RFPs suck. RFPs drain your resources and time. RFPs are designed to tip the power balance in the client/designer relationship in client's favour, so they could compare you and your services to others, then hire the lowest bidder.

    There will always be somone cheaper and you won't wow a client if they don't understand the value you're bringing in to the table. RFPs are not a way to show them your value. They are one-sided and thus will only account for time and materials.

    "simply responding to 1-2 RFPs per week can mean thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in added revenue (over the course of a few years)."

    I don't know about you, but last time I checked, my job was not a "RFP response writer" but a "product designer". I solve complex problems by dedicating my time to activities other than going through someone's self-diagnosis that will be wrong a lot of the time and writing a lengthy and time-consuming response that will be compared with others. You may as well throw your time into something else, like mowing a lawn in your back garden.

    To the point. If you think of yourself as "just another designer", go after RFPs. There's nothing wrong about that, if you can make it work. I prefer to have real conversations about business with my prospects.

    If I see the meaningful opportunity in helping a prospect with an RFP, I'll try to derail the pitch and get them to talk to me one-on-one, so I could better understand their problems, not go and nod to a long list of specification for their project, which is most of the time just a wishlist put together by people who have no idea what they need.

    For goodness' sake, talk to your prospects. Replace shiny presentations with conversations, and make them understand how you can meaningfully help their business/cause. Do it well and the'll forget about RFP and hire you instead. The second best answer you can hear is "no". If you do, move on, don't ponder on it. You can't win them all, and you can't lose something you've never had to begin with.

    7 points
    • James Mikrut, 2 years ago

      I think there may be a hint of a 'blanket statement' with your comment. I do agree with most of your sentiment regarding RFPs and responses, but responding to RFPs is a 100% required business skill that freelancers as well as studio / agency owners need to possess.

      I have won quite a few RFPs - and usually not from a pricing standpoint either - because our proposals granted us an opportunity to explain ourselves and our understanding of the problem or assignment at hand.

      After each RFP I learn something - and I can't tell you what I would give to get my hands on the proposals that we either beat, or lose to.

      One other note, our greatest success in responding to RFPs is when we make some sort of personal connection with the prospect. If we already know them, great, but if not, get a meeting on the schedule!

      1 point
      • Matthew Morek, 2 years ago

        responding to RFPs is a 100% required business skill

        It depends on how you decide to run your business. I decided that RFPs are nothing but client wishlists in pursuit of a vendor, not a thinker, to do the job at implementing it, and I won't try to pursue them, unless I see something between the lines, then I'll get them talking to me, derailing the pitch.

        The act of stating an assumption that people do business in only in a certain way is actually a "blanket statements." My comment was an alternative, an advice to those eager to hear the other side to this RFP story.

        our proposals granted us an opportunity to explain ourselves and our understanding of the problem or assignment at hand

        Then you did not actually participate in the tender process. You did exactly what I do: you derailed the pitch and took control over the engagement.

        our greatest success in responding to RFPs is when we make some sort of personal connection with the prospect.

        Same as above, tender is about the biggest offering for the least amount of money, while you knowing the prospect is a wedge in that scenario that gives you an advantage. See derailing the pitch.

        0 points
        • James Mikrut, 2 years ago

          I think you may have misunderstood my comment. By saying

          our proposals granted us an opportunity to explain ourselves and our understanding of the problem or assignment at hand

          I meant through the proposal, in advance of an in-person meeting where we further "derailed the pitch". We garner in-person meetings through the interest in our company built through first contact via proposal.

          If I did not respond to RFPs (with a proposal), our studio would have missed out on a few quite large and creatively fulfilling projects. That's all I'm saying.

          0 points
  • Matt C, 2 years ago

    This feels like the table of contents to a real article.

    3 points
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, 2 years ago

    Man, this guy is still around? I'd have thought people would have gotten tired of his scammy services by now.

    2 points
    • Kuanysh BayandinovKuanysh Bayandinov, 2 years ago

      Could you elaborate?

      0 points
      • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 2 years ago

        A few years ago, before he bought folyo (which used to be a legitimate freelance site where clients paid $99 to list their jobs), he used to run a service similar called workshop promising the same thing: a ton of leads for a pretty high price. Before that he was selling a spreadsheet of all the job sites out there for ~$500. He's not the only one trying to peddle this sort of stuff, but he's the one I remember staying at it the longest.

        2 points
        • Robert Williams, almost 2 years ago

          A few corrections.

          1. I didn't buy Folyo. My buddy Sacha Greif (the original owner) gave it to me because it wasn't quite as profitable as he'd hoped and thought I might be able to turn it around. I've been experimenting with different business models as a result. There's a free plan where I send you projects and if you like that you can pay to get more.

          2. Workshop: http://letsworkshop.com is still around and it's helped a ton of design firms. You can call outreach to people on job boards that are looking for freelance designers shady but in that case every job board on the internet is shady, including DNs?

          0 points
  • Rob Williams, 2 years ago

    This is a guide I put together yesterday on how to win RFPs, featuring quotes from Mike Monteiro, Kurt Elster and more. RFPs aren't the sexiest, or most well understood way to get projects - but as Mike's quote indicates, knowing how to use them strategically is important... so I wanted to put something out there that could help. Feedback welcome!

    PS. The illustration used at the top of the guide's background is from http://kit8.net

    2 points