I have mentioned in earlier posts about the concept of giving something before you ask for something. Contacting a client and asking them to give you their valuable time so that you can offer your good or service which is of unknown value to them is a difficult proposition. Why should they meet with you based on your say-so of the value?
Today I met with David Kutcher of Confluent Forms. They are a company that makes custom web based programs. One of their side projects is a great site called The RFP Database. The RFP Database came about because Confluent Forms found that they were having difficulty finding RFPs and they thought that there should be a better way that checking the web site of every organization that might be posting RFPs.
At this point, unless you are a government contractor, you might be wondering what an RFP is. RFP stands for "Request for Proposal". If a company of government agency wants to hire a contractor to do something, from building a building to running electric lines, they post an RFP. People then bid on the RFP and the best bid, as determined by some sort of point based system, gets the contract.
The problem with RFPs is that they only work if bidders know about the RFP. If they don't, then you get contracts that only one or two contractors bid for, and they get it no matter how bad their offer is. The RFP Database seeks to address this by putting RFPs all in one convenient place.
This brings us back to what it can do for you, the salesperson or entrepreneur who is trying to figure out how to get into a conversation with a potential client. Let's say that you are trying to get in the door with a client who does branding work. You go to RFPDB and do a search for branding jobs. Then, you send the jobs to the potential client. They are pleased to get the leads, and perhaps they even turn those leads into contacts. Think this prospect might be a little more willing to make an appointment next time you call? I suspect so.
The best part about RFPDB is that it is really inexpensive to use. To get the information necessary to bid on a job, you need two credits. You can get credits in one of two ways: you get 10 credits for each RFP that you post to the site, and you can buy a credit for a dollar. Don't have an RFP to post? No problem, do a quick search of the web, find some RFPs that have not been posted yet and post those. It sounds like cheating, but it's actually how the system is supposed to work.
Of course, this concept can be applied to all kinds of things that you might offer a client, but this is a quick, easy way to find something of real value to a potential client.
Thank you for reading. Now go out, meet some real people, face to face, and send them some good RFP leads!
Note: Michael Whitehouse is not affiliated with RFPDB in any way. He just thought that the idea of using it to get the foot in the door with clients was awesome.