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If you want to get on a supplier short list, try answering the questions

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Illustration in a 1950s style of a woman in a grey business suit jumping a hurdle. She has knocked it over.

"We don't think you've understood your requirements."

Ballsy answer for someone not yet on a short list. It was an exploratory call at the back end of a Request for Proposal process. Research leading to list A. Questionnaire gone out. Responses gathered. Usual stuff.

This particular supplier had answered "N/A" to a couple of questions and the client wanted to know whether that was because they didn't do it, or did it a different way. Anyway, there was a call.

And out pops this nugget.

To be fair, my client took it on the chin, resisted the urge to scream down the phone and brought the call to a swift conclusion. Then came the ranting. Entirely justified, in my humble opinion. We all need to let off steam when someone we don't know tells us we don't know how to do our job.

This was not the first time I've come across a "we know best" attitude from a not-yet supplier and won't be the last. It usually appears as a somewhat arrogant "We don't do RFP processes". Occasionally followed by irate phone calls about why they're not on a list.

(Clue: because the client drew in red pen across the candidate's name without even thinking about it.)

If you get an RFP please reply to it. Answer the questions as asked. By all means ask for clarity (if the process allows - some don't). And sell yourself.

Please sell yourself.

But answer the questions.

Unless you do that, you won't get a chance to show how amazing your product is.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction.

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