Responding to RFP’s is never fun for a small business. You likely don’t have a designated team to crank these things out, and you’re having to squeeze the response into your already-chaotic schedule. Obviously, the more thoughtful you are in your response, the higher the likelihood of success will be.

Ten response elements that I check when I get hired by companies to review their draft RFP. Click To Tweet

I am sharing the ten response elements that I check when I get hired by companies – no matter the size – to review their draft RFP. What’s great about these ten components is that your competitors are likely not taking the time to do these, so it’s going to give you a huge leg up. It does take some patience and objectivity, but you’re trying to get business here! Now is not the time to be lazy or flippant.

Once you have your RFP drafted, going through and doing a thorough review of the proposal is very important. This is on top of a solid editorial review. These ten questions are essential to increasing your potential for winning. If you can honestly answer YES to these questions, you’ll be well on your way to success.

  1. Do you smack ‘em between the eyes at least 12 times with your core message/proposal promise? 
  2. Are you consistent with your terminology throughout the response? 
  3. Have you actually answered the questions? (Seems a little obvious, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised by how many people don’t answer the questions as they are asked. Make sure you simply and concisely answered all parts of each question).
  4. Are you talking more about the solution you provide to THEIR problem/want/need and less about you? 
  5. Have you added value beyond price? 
  6. Have you fully differentiated yourself? A differentiator is not an expectation. If you aren’t differentiating yourself, you blend in with all of the other responses and you’ll be forgettable.
  7. Have you fully met the requirements of the RFP?
  8. Have you addressed what they will be evaluating you on? In other words, in reviewing the evaluation criteria, does your response solidly address that evaluation criteria so there is no question that you meet the criteria?
  9. Have you created enough “white space” to make it an interesting read for the reviewers?
  10. Is it easy to read, confusion-free, simplistic and clear?  

Very few companies will create the draft far enough in advance to go through this checklist, but it can make all the difference for your success. Build in one extra day and make this happen and you’ll have a winning submittal!

If you are interested in hiring Lisa to review your draft RFP response(s), send an email to with “Review my RFP response!” in the subject line, and we’ll be in touch!