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Spelling Counts

We have spent a good portion of the past few days reviewing bid responses for a major CCTV project that our firm is handling. After a fairly detailed request for proposal (RFP) package, multiple walk-through opportunities, and a comprehensive request for information (RFI) process, we thought that we would get a number of complete, professional, competitive bids



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We have spent a good portion of the past few days reviewing bid responses for a major CCTV project that our firm is handling. After a fairly detailed request for proposal (RFP) package, multiple walkthrough opportunities, and a comprehensive request for information (RFI) process, we thought that we would get a number of complete, professional, competitive bids. And while the responses as a group were excellent, I am reminded that many firms secure work in spite of their proposals, not because of them.

First of all, price counts. I don’t care what anyone tells you, a price differential of more than 10 percent is hard to sell to the person tasked with writing checks. So none of this should be misconstrued as justification to overcharge. If you don’t feel that you can be competitive, don’t waste your time. Sure you can add value,  but all added value ultimately has a price.

Second,  spelling counts. And it especially counts when it is the name of the prospective client. How can people spell the name of the client and the project wrong? Well,  in this case, I guess if you can spell the name of your own firm wrong (multiple times), then spelling the client’s name wrong shouldn’t be a stretch. And by spelling, I also mean grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and all the other niceties. There’s a difference between “a lot” and “alot.” Look it up if you don’t believe me.

In fact, grammar, spelling, and punctuation may count more than your technical response in many cases. Why? Two reasons come to mind. First, the person writing the checks may not understand the technical issues but he sure knows how to spell the name of his company. Second, a sloppy proposal equates to sloppy work in people’s minds. I know it shouldn’t — the person writing the proposal isn’t the person doing the work — but it is a hard barrier to overcome.

In our office, we have multiple people read each document that goes out the door,  and we still make mistakes from time to time. If you aren’t staffed sufficiently to do that, find a high-school student and offer them a few bucks for proofing your work. I know they may not catch the complicated things, but they’ll likely catch the same mistakes your prospective client will catch. And the old saying is true, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”

Check back for more on this topic in the days ahead, and, as always, your comments are welcome.

 


Article Topics
Blogs · Enterprising Solutions · RFPs · All Topics

About the Author
Bob Grossman
Bob Grossman has held positions in all areas of the security industry — giving him plenty of opportunity to learn from his mistakes! He has spent time as an end user, responsible for security, surveillance and low-voltage electronics at Bally’s Park Place, a major Atlantic City casino. As a senior project manager for Sensormatic Electronics’ Enterprise Accounts group, he learned first-hand the difficulty in translating ideas into reality while staying on schedule and under budget. He has worked for both Vicon Industries (as vice president of Customer and Technical Services) and American Dynamics/Tyco Safety Products (as director of Product Line Management), with responsibilities that included pre- and post-sales support, project design, product line management, customer service and sales. Bob has authored several articles for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION and other publications and has spoken at numerous industry events both internationally and in the United State. Currently the founder and president of R. Grossman and Associates, a consulting firm, he divides his time between project-based work for large integrated systems and product consulting for a variety of cutting-edge manufacturers.
Contact Bob Grossman: rdgrossman@tech-answers.com
View More by Bob Grossman
Enterprising Solutions, RFPs


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