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Request for winning proposal

Request for winning proposal

Request for winning proposal

Through the years, there is an architect who sends us RFPs relatively often.  Our proposals are selected about 5% of the time.  I am getting the impression that they are only requesting our proposals to say the received them from X number of companies.  

Before I submit another proposal to this company, I would like them to commit to sending us a copy of the winning proposal if our own is not selected.  Is this something that I can request?  Or maybe better phrased, is this something they are allowed to send me?

RE: Request for winning proposal

enginerding...you are probably correct.

They probably will not do as you are suggesting; however, you can turn this into an opportunity.

Ask for a sit-down with your contact and perhaps someone above that person.  Tell them that you are concerned that your proposals are not being responsive to their needs and that you want to improve your proposals and thus improve your chances for selection.  Using this approach will keep them from being defensive of their choices.

Go through the whole littany of possibilities, asking such questions as:

Firm qualifications-Do you consider us to be equally qualified with the other firms from which you solicit proposals?

Resources- Do you consider that we have the resources to respond to your project in a manner that you expect?

Fees - Do you consider our fee proposal to be consistent with others and reasonable for the proposed services?

Past Performance - On projects that we have done for you in the past, were you satisfied with our performance and do you see any areas in which we could improve?

Selection Process - What process do you use for selection of firms to work on your projects?

Tell them up front that you are not looking to compare pricing but that you just want to improve your firm's approach to proposals and work, and that getting feedback from respected firms is one way that you consider is helpful in your process.

RE: Request for winning proposal

We need to hire Ron and get him to move up north here to work with us.  Winter coats provided free of charge.

RE: Request for winning proposal

we generally ask for a de-briefing on every proposal we submit that doesn't win. It is likely that you may not find out the true reason you did not get selected, but occasionally a client will be open and honest and actually tell you. Either way, it can be an opportunity to improve your proposals or improve your relationship with the client.

RE: Request for winning proposal

You could start the conversation by telling the Architectural Firm that in this era of cut-backs and belt tightening that your company is taking a long look at shifting your efforts to places where the rewards are more likely, and that you value them as a Client.  Tell them the reality of the number of RFP's to real Projects rate and ask if there is a way to improve it.

Keep in mind that there is also the possibility that architects can (and do) solicit RFP's for the purpose of getting a 'free' preliminary evaluation of a project.  My coworkers do it all the time and brag about it.  I usually try to build in a feasibility phase in my proposals that include costs for outside engineers to have a cursory look at something.  For that kind of work, I usually get a phone quote from a list of regulars and try to spread it around fairly.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Request for winning proposal

If you don't like the client, and think they are using you, just give them the control.  Start charging for RFP's.  Either they won't be back, or they'll start taking you more seriously.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering


RE: Request for winning proposal

A vendor that pressed for such confidential information would soon find that all RFQs have stopped.

RE: Request for winning proposal

5%... stop talking to them unless the jobs you have done in the past went extremely well and were profitable.  I can't imagine them sending you a competitors proposal.  

This sounds like price shopping to justify using the firm they normally work with.  Are they sending you a formal RFP listing deliverable's and the scope of work?


RE: Request for winning proposal

Copyright your materials.  We have had VERY large companies shopping our concepts and designs and somebody bids 2% less then we do.... guess what happens.

RE: Request for winning proposal

Sometimes you can't get the winning proposal for keeps, but they'll let you look at it over lunch. This lets you interact in a more social environment and shows your interest.
Plus, maybe the other proposals are much different (or better) than yours. This will show you what you're up against.
We did this once. When we looked at our black and white, stapled proposal vs. the glossy bound winning one, we saw how much more sophisticated we needed to be. So we gave up.

RE: Request for winning proposal

Uh JAE...what's a winter coat?

RE: Request for winning proposal

LOL @ Ron and JAE.  When I arrived college "up yonder", my advisor gave me the current Land's End winter catalog and told me to buy the thickest coat in there.  I was so grateful for that!

RE: Request for winning proposal

slta...no thank you!!
I get Lands End catalogs and like their products, but have no desire to buy down parkas or the like.

In the late 80's, I was a partner in a Canadian engineering firm.  Occasionally had to travel to Toronto for meetings.  I had to buy an overcoat to wear over a suit.  I used it a total of 3 times in 6 years.  Goodwill then got it.  Hopefully it kept someone warm.

At present, I only wear socks when I go to court (well actually I wear the rest of the clothes too...the alternative wouldn't be pretty!).  My clients don't mind that my uniform of the day is the engineer's ubiquitous plaid shirt (or closely related pattern) and jeans.  Ok...I'll wear khakis for a deposition or a meeting with a new client, but mostly the standard applies.

My wife bought me a very nice leather jacket a few years ago.  It still looks nice...it will probably stay that way, since I do not wear it often...maybe a few times each year.

JAE...come on down!!

RE: Request for winning proposal

We have had very similar low winning proposal on 2 individuals. When I followed up, I learned the following:

The client is bidding and has not won the project yet
The funding is not yet available (for start ups)
They found a competing firm willing to start work without a retainer
They found a competing firm willing to wait for 90 days or worse,  agreeing to "get paid when we they get paid"
The individual requesting the proposal is not the one capable of authorizing
They are shopping for the lowest priced bid

Given the 2 hour sunken time into each proposal, We now decline to bid with these two firms (success rate = 0 jobs out of 8 proposals).  That is well below 50-50 odd on the usual proposal request.

It is really complex trying to figure out why a firm chooses a consultant. I had some authorize the work verbally prior to the end of the telephone conversation.  I also had several say, our proposal was simple so they will go with us.  The most unusual job we won was due to me answering an email on a Sunday afternoon.  

Ron's approach on his first post is theoretically correct and will work for firms who realize you need to throw a bone to all consultants and not heavily rely on one firm.  I have also read one proposal book mention, if we walk away prior to winning a single project, we have only done the preparatory work for the competition. Well, the other firm can have 0/8 success rate!

RE: Request for winning proposal

Don't underestimate the importance of a simple phone call.  Don't make this too complicated.

RE: Request for winning proposal

One other point I didn't make....don't bid.  There's a difference between "proposing" and "bidding".  

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