RFP's for Law Firm Service Providers - Love ‘em or Hate ‘em – They Are Important!
Agency: Thank you for thinking of us for your project. Is there an RFP that we can work from to provide you with the best possible answer to your needs?
Client: I am sorry, no, we do not have an RFP.
Agency: Ok, no problem, We have a few questions for you about the project that will help us answer your needs. Do you have some time to chat further?
Client: Yes, of course.
Agency: What is the reason you are undertaking this project?
Client: We see other firms and competitors going through a similar process and we need to be able to compete. Also, we want to drive people to our website and create new business. (Agency thinks, “…. this is pretty vague, but continues with questions to unlock other more distinct reasons.”)
Agency: What are your measures for success for this project?
Client: Drive traffic to the website and create new business (again the Agency thinks, “…. vague.”)
Agency: Ok. Who is your target audience? What types of companies do you market to?
Client: <might sound like this> We target technology and start-up companies. Our audience is in-house general counsel within these industries.
Agency: Is there a specified budget for the project?
Client: I would rather not share that information in order to keep the playing field level. (or) No, but I know I have it in my budget. (Agency thinks, ”…. ok, this will be difficult to estimate accurately.”)
Agency: Who else is submitting proposals for this project?
Client: I would rather not share that information in order to keep the playing field level.
Agency: Ok, can you share with me how many proposals you are expecting? (This question helps to somewhat determine if the client is price shopping or is honed in on the right agencies for the project.)
No one likes to write them, but they certainly help firms and agencies alike determine needs and goals, as well as enable agencies to provide the best possible solutions to the project or projects being proposed.
Of course there are other questions that are important to ask when writing a proposal. Here are some to consider when you do not have an RFP:
- What is the budget?
- Who are the prospective clients competitors?
- Who else is submitting a proposal?
- Do you have a timeline for completion of the project?
- Is a branding exercise important to your project?
- Will this project lead to future projects?
- Do you have in mind what type of agency you are looking to hire? What characteristics are important to the selection process?
- Can you tell us what the personalities of your partners are like? Will they be involved in the selection process?
- Are you looking for an agency or a partner?
- If it is a website project, will it include design and development?
- What are the elements that proposals will be reviewed and judged upon?
It is about asking the right questions without pushing too hard for answers. The more answers agencies have, the better the response can be. Too often, proposals are submitted without an RFP. It is important to be proactive and use this informal question and answer session to help individualize the proposal for the client.
When you are presented with a proposal and do not have an RFP, what is important for you and your agency to ask?