You receive an RFP from a potential client and you know several of your competitors have likely received the same RFP. How do you set yourself apart from the crowd? What are these corporate buyers looking for in your proposal?
First of all, notice I said buyers. There is a shift happening in corporations with who is making the decisions on event spend. A choice that was often times left up to an assistant or internal planner is under greater scrutiny and is now the choice of someone, in a buyer or procurement role, with little to no experience with events.
It’s important for you to speak their language. Make sure your content on pricing, savings and ROI is STRONG. Supplement these numbers with validating reasons why you are worth it, including…
Are you leading edge when it comes to event technology? Do you use an event app that ties in with registration software, budgeting, session tracking, surveys, the whole sha-bang? Be specific! This is increasingly important to your corporate client. Many want to be known as innovative, outside of the box thinkers, and this is one way to speak to that. Also, it doesn’t hurt to highlight any integrations your technology may have with their in-house software. Think SAP, Concur, CRM’s etc. Greater transparency and tracking of event spend is #1 in these buyers minds.
You can also use this portion to educate them on how technology can drive engagement, and ultimately ROI.
Creativity and Innovation
I just said it, but it bears repeating; corporations want to stand out as innovative, outside of the box thinkers. They want to be assured that you have what it takes to breathe new life into their events. When they ask for a teambuilding activity, they don’t want to hear about another amazing race style scavenger hunt. They want something new, fresh, and creative.
It can be hard to convey your creativity and innovation on a piece of paper without giving away your ideas. Mention your dedicated in-house creative team, or your involvement in an international association from which you draw inspiration, or maybe you attend an annual conference that focuses on new ideas and trends in the event industry. I believe speaking to your ongoing commitment to innovation leaves a longer lasting impression than sharing a current creative idea, that come next year, has run its’ course.
References or Success Stories
Use this as an opportunity to brag or toot your own horn. What were your biggest and best successful events? If at all possible, choose an event you planned for another client in the same industry – one of their peers. Social influence can play a part in your proposal. People often look for cues to see what their peers are doing. Try to avoid direct competitors as examples, but know the client you are pitching to; know their industry, and give examples that show you can plan an event for them.