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Why responding to RFPs might not be for you

by on September 29, 2009
Last updated on
Requests for Proposals aren't for everyone. Some companies simply don't need them in order to acquire new clients and new business. It makes complete sense; why enter yourself into a competition against other companies, spending tens or hundreds of non-billable hours creating proposals, only to lose more proposals than you win?

We can certainly think of some methods to land new business that are less painful on the ego and lots more fun:
  • Invite potential clients to rounds of golf and free drinks
  • Hire junior sales members on commission only to make cold calls
  • Throw elaborate holiday parties with open bars
  • Sponsor networking events for large Chambers of Commerce
  • Place advertising in major industry journals, newspapers, and tv stations is major markets
  • Call people out of our rolodex
  • Hire connected sales people to call people out of their rolodex
  • Develop fancy marketing material, interactive advertisements, and holiday Flash games
  • Reserve a corporate suite at SXSW 
With these sales resources and strategies in mind it's a wonder that any medium or large agency would ever consider responding to a RFP as there's simply no reason to dedicate the time and effort necessary to winning it, let alone give up any of these more fun and exciting methods of landing business.  If you have access to all of the above resources for developing new business opportunities we wholeheartedly encourage you to skip the RFP process.


Don't even consider it.

If you get a RFP in the mail your best course of action is to set up a mail filter to immediately delete it or return it to the sender with a note that you're not interested.  Don't think twice about this decision, let alone write gripes on your blog decrying the whole RFP process. With such better sales strategies and techniques at your disposal, RFPs are for suckers; let the suckers waste their time and efforts on them while you're finishing the back-9 with a potential client.

For everyone else I recommend reading "RFPs Suck!" by Tom Searcy.

Join the conversation


  1. Instead of comparing RFPs as 'the only way' and garbage marcom techicques, why not state how RFPs are part of the mix for both seller and buyer and hte pros and cons? Certainly they are not the ONLY way to conduct a purchasing cycle and they are certainly not the only way to generate leads/sales cycles. You seem like a a good business leader with a good service. RFPs are important---we should all know how to handle them successfully.

  2. Hi Greg,

    Thank you for the comment! I agree, RFPs aren't the only way to generate leads/sales. This article was a tongue-in-cheek swipe at those who continually decry the RFP process and actively blog about how it should be done away with. Typically those same people are employed by the larger firms in their sector with marketing and sales budgets greater than the annual sales of smaller firms who hunger for these leads. Please visit the other articles on our blog; this article is one in a series written on the subject of RFPs.