How to create a winning RFP Presentation
Table of Contents
The ultimate guide to creating a winning RFP presentation to close more deals and win more business.
What You Need To Know About RFP Presentations.
A request for proposal, or RFP, is a business announcement that asks prospective companies for bids for an upcoming project and is judged based on specific criteria and metrics set out by the company or organization requesting the RFPs. In some instances, the RFP includes an oral proposal presentation, which requires the finalists of selected companies who have placed a bid for the project to present their proposal.
A Request For Proposal presentation, otherwise known as an RFP finalist presentation, is a real time, in person or virtual review of your proposal. Its the determining factor when selecting the vendor that get’s the project, so the RFP presentation has to deliver. Choosing the right presentation service provider is essential in helping you craft your message in a logical way to give you a better chance of winning the bid.
Types of RFP Presentations
When setting out to prepare a RFP presentation, you should keep in mind the types of RFP presentation you may have to deliver. There are two main types. Pre-planned or Ad Hoc RFP oral presentations and in person or virtual RFP oral presentations.
Pre-Planned or Ad Hoc RFP Oral Presentations
RFP Finalist presentations are usually required if you are one of the finalists selected to fight for the bid. If the presentation step is a standard part of the customer’s RFP process, the original RFP should clearly outline the RFP presentation timeframe, expectations and evaluation criteria.
Alternatively, it is not uncommon for the customer to request an ad hoc presentation if the initial presentation doesn’t produce an outright winner for the bid. This is typically based off the scoring criteria set out by the company.
In Person or Virtual RFP Presentations
Should you be invited to create an RFP Presentation, considering recent cultural shifts, it may be in person or online. This combined with the accessibility to affordable, quality video conferencing solutions, in-person presenting is fast becoming a thing of the past. That being said, the human element shouldn’t be overlooked. Your success relies on making a human connection
What should RFP Presentations Include?
When the initial RFP is first released, it should include the main topics and points the company is looking for you to address in your RFP presentation. A good RFP would include:
A detailed description of the project
Deadlines and key dates
Any specific questions they would like you to answer
With this in mind, you already have the foundation of what a good RFP presentation should showcase. The company is clearly outlining what they’re looking for and what you need to provide to win the bid. Try not to stray too far from the outlined RFP, especially if there is a scoring criteria. To be successful, keep it simple and stick to the outline.
Our Top 5 Tips To Prepare Your RFP Presentation
1) Ask The Right Questions
So you’ve made it, you’ve been notified that you’re in the running as a finalist! What’s next? Preparation. You’re going to want to collect information that you know will help you put your best foot forward. It’s time to reach out o your contact and dig around. Here are a few questions you should ask:
What led to them determining you as a finalist?
What are the desired outcomes they are trying to achieve?
Is there any specific your customer would like to be addressed in the RFP presentation?
Who will you be presenting two in the business?
What will you be being assessed on?
What are the next steps and key dates after the final presentations?
2) One Must Lead, But All Should Be Unified
You need a Captain who will drive the ship. This individual should know the potential customer inside out and backwards and will be the primary point of contact. It’s recommended that they do most of the presenting as they can confidently speak to the subject matter and make a lasting impression.
Following the conclusion of the presentation is where the team can take the wheel. Typically there is a Q&A segment that enables specialists to showcase their expertise on the matter. This will give an opportunity for the client to interact with your team and see who will be working on the projects should you win the bid. It also provides value to bring others who are likely to work in tandem with the customers. Account Managers and Project Managers likely fit in that realm.
However, too many people may overwhelm your client and lines of communication might get blurred. Make sure you develop a clear structure complete with lines of communication established.
3) Remember To Put The Client First
Your entire written proposal should ultimately answer the questions of the client and provide a clear solution or plan of action to the problem they’re facing. Talking about yourself and qualifications is important to note but don’t go off track. Remember to focus on the customer’s needs first!
As you put together your presentation, be sure to keep in mind:
What connects you and the customer to separate you from the pack?
What expertise do you bring will help your customer achieve what they set out to achieve?
Why you? What benefit do you bring? Why should you be cared for?
4) Never Assume, Don’t Guess, Always Build Trust
As much as the facts and data matter in a RFP presentation, “gut instinct” will play a huge part in whether or not you win the business. That gut feeling is trust. You know you’ve nailed it, you’ve practiced this 100 times over and you’d hire you!
This is now your time to showcase your passion, knowledge and expertise. You believe in your business, it’s now time for you to convince someone else they should too.
5) What’s Next? Don’t Be Forgotten!
Your presentation should dedicate a slide to highlight the next steps. Give the customer the confidence that a plan is in place and you know what you’re doing. Put faces to the names of the stakeholders that will be driving the project and give them a sense of what it is to work with such a competent company. Leave no room for them to doubt choosing you and your team.
Follow up shortly after the presentation with anything that has been promised. The sooner the better, within 24 hours, ideally. However, be confident that what you are sending is correct. You’ve done all the hard work, don’t ruin it by rushing. You’ll don your chances more hard than good.
RFP Oral Presentation Tips
Highlight Benefits, Not Features
Connect the services you will offer to the expected outcome and benefit.
Example: Based on your needs, we recommend A, B & C which will help you achieve X, Y and Z
Effective and Impactful Visual Aids
The effectiveness of your visual aids depends on their ability to be clear, contrasting and consistent. If creativity isn’t your strong suit, consider sourcing the help of a presentation design company like Presentation Geeks who has experience working with various presentation slide softwares such as Google Slides, PowerPoint, Canva and others.
You don’t have to be different based on the quantity of services you offer, you just need to pick one area you’re really good at and go all-in. Highlight how you’re the absolute best in this one specific area over anyone else.
Social Proof and Case Studies
Use past work examples and client testimonials of your proven strategies to help your prospective client envision working with you.
A Well-constructed Solution
Include action-steps that will be taken once they select you as a vendor. This way, you’ll communicate that you’ve done your due diligence and have a plan to deliver on the contract.