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RFQ Template:

Writing a Business Proposal

Using a RFQ template, RFI template, or RFP examples can help you in writing a business proposal efficiently, and effectively. Templates or examples minimize your effort and provide you with a strong base; use an example for writing a proposal to win bids. Review the RFQ, RFI and/or RFPs that you've completed and pick the best elements of each to create a template. Or, if you haven't put together a request for proposal or quote before, see if you can access an example of a winning proposal from the client's last-time purchase.

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When writing a proposal to win a bid, use a RFQ template or RFP examples.

Design your own RFQ, RFP template or RFI template that captures at least 60 percent of the mandatory information (which is usually the same for all proposals or quotes; such as staff, qualifications, references and more) that is required.

Your template will form the base of all proposals you write and submit.

To create the RFQ template (or a template for any type of proposal or request), use content from your own samples or examples of writing a proposal.

What are the common elements? Review past bids (both successful and unsuccessful) and look for commonalities.

RFQs, RFPs, RFIs, RFEIs, and more.
What are they?

  • RFI: Request for information. Often used as a pre-qualification: do your capabilities match the needs of the organization? Are there enough suppliers in the market? Often a short form.

  • RFQ: Request for quote. Usually follows the RFI: asks for pricing and delivery information.

  • RFP: Request for proposal. Often a longer, more comprehensive document. Requires information on your business; your staff and management; your capabilities; references; administration detail (such as insurance, Human Resources and environmental policies, and more); pricing; quality; delivery and more.

  • RFEI: Request for expression of interest. Often issued by the potential buyer when they believe there are a large number of suppliers in the market; this is one way of assessing level of interest in the market place.

  • RFQL: Request for qualifications. Buyers want to know who is available in the market to meet their needs; and how qualified are they to deliver.

RFQ Template - Common Elements

  • A cover letter that connects what you have to offer, and the solution you provide, to the request.

  • Proposal specifications: this will change for every quote or proposal request but see if there is any commonality in your responses (for example, if your business is writing marketing plans then you know what you need to cover in most plans; your template could include an outline of what you normally write).

  • Staff and/or subcontractors: often these are the same; build a list for the template and then copy and paste the individuals you'll use on the specific job.

  • References: jobs you've done before, and satisfied clients. Get letters from your clients once you've finished the project. If necessary, supply them with a 'form' letter that they can edit.

  • Your solution: include a sample in your RFP examples or template to help you model when you have to write one that is specific to the proposal you are working on.

  • Your price: if appropriate, develop a price list. This only works if you're selling a lot of the same thing. For example, if you're selling the writing of a marketing plan you can put together a price list for a 50 page plan, 80 page plan; 150 page plan, or whatever fits the most common scenario. The assumption is that the more pages, the more research and writing. Price accordingly.

The purpose of building your RFP template is to be able to produce a bid quickly and painlessly. Responding to, and writing, a business proposal takes time and effort and resources; simplify the process and produce a better proposal.

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Additional Reading:

Read more about Writing a Proposal, Part 1 or Proposal Writing, Part 2.

Or find out about the importance (to selling) of developing an effective Pricing Strategy.

Find more details about developing your RFP Template.

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Customer Relationship Management

Customer loyalty is built by giving value first in all aspects of your business. As a small business owner or manager, you need to commit to offering the best products and/or services.

Ensure that you regularly ask your customers for input and feedback (and both listen to it and act on it) to continuously improve your processes.

Your customers will respond to the value that you add, not only to the solution you propose but also to the relationship you build together.

Buyers Needs and Wants

What do customers want? Market research says that customers have an expectation of good quality, good price and good service; that is the minimum requirement for doing business today.

What more do you need to provide?

Knowledge. Reliability. Consistency. Communication. Discover what your customers value, and provide it.

Note: customers have unique and individual needs; they do not all value the same things. Make sure you clearly understand what each individual customer or market segment wants or needs.

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Sales: Making Contact

In a business to business selling environment, it used to be that it would take between seven or eight touches to make a sale (or not, since not all contact means that a prospect will buy).

In this Internet age, it takes more touches.

Why? Because we have become both 'ad blind' and somewhat 'insensitive' to touches.

What this means to the small business owner is that your communication (and touches) need to be different from others (not imitations or copies of what everyone else is doing), it needs to be believable and sincere, and it needs to be memorable.

The Sales Cycle

In a business to business sales environment, the selling cycle takes longer to close (and is often more complex) than ever before.

To effectively grow your sales, you need build a plan that will help you to optimize your efforts.

Focus your planning efforts on a lean sales process that: will solve your customer's problem or challenge; has value (i.e. reduces time and/or cost); provides not only what the customer wants but more than has been identified (over-delivering); and that provides a solution that offers convenience, high quality, a price that is acceptable, competitive and covers the business' costs, and exceptional service.