Thursday, June 1st, 2023

How to fail to get on a shortlist: don’t answer the questions

Graphic of a woman in business attire jumping over a hurdle. She's knocked it over and it's going to hit the ground.

“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.

Not the first time I’ve come across a “we know best” attitude from a not-yet supplier and won’t be the last.

Invariably ends with a red pen being drawn across the supplier’s name a few dozen times.

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. Find out more.