When we submit a response to a Request for Proposal (RFP), we always need to keep in mind that the reviewers are likely evaluating multiple proposals. The responses get boring, tedious, and — let’s face it — flat out annoying for the reviewers. Keeping this in mind, it’s imperative that we “make friends” with our reviewers very early on in our response.

One way to make things easier on the reviewers is to tell them what they need to know up front. Basically, you want to demonstrate right out of the gate that you have met all of their requirements. Obviously (and hopefully!) you’ve done that throughout your response, but you want to make it very clear before they get into the meat of the proposal. 

At the beginning of your proposal, it’s powerful to inject some unconscious persuasion that will… Click To Tweet

How can we do that?

One way to “tell” the reviewers that you have met all the requirements is to include a Compliance Matrix. A Compliance Matrix is a cross-referencing tool used to help manage your response and ensure the proposal requirements have been met. But it isn’t just for internal use.

If the format of the RFP allows, adding a Compliance Matrix early in your response can be very powerful because it gives your reviewers a snapshot that you have, indeed, met all of the requirements. This unconscious persuasion carries throughout their review of your proposal, having already been convinced that you are in compliance. It also puts the reviewers at ease.

Your compliance matrix should be built in a table format, and should include, at a minimum, the following columns:

  • Section Number
  • Section Name
  • Response Page Number
  • Compliance


In the Compliance column, you can approach this one of two different ways – include a checkmark, or include a “meets” or “exceeds” statement. If you exceed most requirements, I always recommend using the statements over the checkmark. If you meet most requirements, stick with the checkmark. The checkmark is a nice visual that again sticks in the minds of the reviewers, as will the word “exceeds”.

Try it out on your next proposal, the evaluators will thank you!