RFPs: Everything You Need to Know About the RFP Process

Every work conversation has centered around bidders and negotiations and quotes and information but now, it’s done. You are ready to tell the winners they’ve been picked and thank all other candidates for their hard work. 

As we discussed in the timeline section of this page, you may want to leave a window of time between informing your winning bidder and sending rejection notifications. After picking a winner, you still have contract negotiations and documents to sign before everything is official. Leaving that window of time allows for error and lets you regroup in case things fall through with your first choice.

When you notify your winning bidder, you’ll need to include a timeline and expectations for contract negotiations. If the organization is local, decide if you want to negotiate digitally or in person. Give them some time to accept or reject the opportunity and, once accepted, begin conversations about when you should get the ball rolling. Refer to your predetermined timeline for dates.

Out of five, maybe ten proposals, you narrowed your options down to one, which means you have multiple bidders needing to hear their rejection. It’s imperative you don’t slack on this simply because it could be an awkward conversation.

You and your bidders have been through a long haul together, and they deserve a respectful and, if possible, personalized rejection! Here are some tips for letting rejected bidders down easy, bidders whose services you may desire in the future:

  • Send emails individually. This is not the place to send a mass email. Even sending the emails one by one will show you took a fraction of the time in rejecting a bidder that they took to apply for your project.
  • Use names. Addressing the email with a company or, better yet, individual’s name will further show your investment in this candidate and process. While parts of the email can be a template response, it takes seconds to add a name or two in there.
  • Provide some explanation while maintaining privacy where necessary. This organization has really fought for your attention and business, and it’s possible you’ve had a lot of back and forth communication and negotiation. Now isn’t the time to say, “We’ve gone in a different direction.” Odds are, the bidder will want to know specifically why they weren’t chosen, so it’s okay to go into that some in this initial email.
  • Reiterate your thanks. Bidders have done you a great compliment in considering your project. They have put hours, or maybe weeks, into drafting this proposal and communicating with you. Try not to sound generic or mechanical. Truly let the bidder know how much you appreciate their effort. 

I know it feels like this should signal the end of your project, but truly the work begins here. And how exciting that is! You’ve spent so much time finding the perfect candidate, and now they get to take off with your instructions and deliver incredible results. 

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