How not to solicit business
I received the following solicitation today from a vendor seeking to be hired as a proofreader:
I won't proofread the vendor's solicitation, because I'm sure you, dear reader, can see for yourself that it's riddled with errors. It boggles the mind why anyone advertsing his or her expertise as a proofreader would circulate such a stellar example of incompetence. Frankly, this vendor ought to be embarrassed. Don't tell me offer expert proofreading services in a solitation that shows no evidence of such.
Another way to be dismissed as a contender for my busines is to fail to read and follow instructions. Although direction to insert a certain word or phrase at the beginning of the proposal may be irksome, it does indicate those vendors who actually read and understand the RFP. When soliciting for a Facebook marketing guru, I received 17 proposals. Of them, only one--yes, just one--vendor bothered to read the RFP and respond accordingly. He's the one I hired.
Yet another way to eliminate yourself from consideration is to over-promise and under-deliver. If I should ask for a vendor to edit a document and give a deadline of a week for delivery, don't promise me that you'll have it done overnight for $5. If I give someone a week for delivery, then I have a very good understanding that the project can't be performed to satisfaction in a smal fraction of that time. I'll know that you'll do a poor job and you won't get my business. If I have a project and don't know what it will take to complete, then I'll request the vendor's estimated delivery time in the RFP.
Of course, that works both ways. If I'm the vendor and the prospective buyer suggests an out-of-whack delivery deadline, I will state in my proposal a deadline that's realistic for me to do the best job I can on that project. I provide such responses to prospective buyers seeking a 100,000-word novel in a month. Ain't gonna happen, folks.
Some buyers place greater value on speed and quantity than on quality. That's their prerogative. I don't deal with those buyers. As my husband says, you can ask for fast, cheap, and good, but you'll only get two of the three. If you choose fast and cheap, then you won't get good. If you choose fast and good, then you won't get cheap. If you choose good and cheap, then you won't get fast.
I tend to combine fast and good. I don't to settle for cheap--either in the vendors I hire or in the projects I serve.
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