How to Handle Promotional Products RFPs

“How do I respond to a Promotional Product RFP in order to win it?”

This question has been asked by every sales representative, sales manager, and distributorship owner in the promotional product business.  Each response will reveal a secret ranging from how you vaguely answer the questions, to the use of unique packaging of the RFP response, to don’t respond to RFPs—run!

There are many questions that come before, “How do I win an RFP?”  Due to the heavy commitment of resources to reply, present, implement you must be sure you understand all aspects before agreeing to respond. Here are some of the questions you need to ask before you even start on an RFP:

  1. Why were you or we asked to participate?  Do we have a business relationship with the customer?  Was our name drawn from a hat?
  2. What do we know about the client?  Are they solid financially?  Why are they leaving their current provider?  Are they a good business partner?  Do they pay their bills and let us make some money?  Do they or a third party pay the bills?
  3. Is this a B2B program or B2C?  Average order size?  How do we bill and collect?
  4. Is there inventory involved?  Will they agree to own inventory on the front end or agree to a back-end commitment?  Can we afford to fund the inventory?
  5. Do we have the technology needed to integrate with the customer’s systems? If not, what does it cost?

Do your homework before you ask your company to support your efforts to win an RFP.  If you cannot answer the questions above, it’s unlikely you will ever get to the question of, “How do I win an RFP?”