Israel: 054-321-6176 / USA - 210-820-3070 alan@weinkrantz.com

RFP’s For PR Services Don’t Ask the Right Questions

We are currently pitching a prospective client in Austin.

We know their space quite well and I think we are an ideal candidate to handle their business.

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Unfortunately, they are issuing an RFP to six firms so we can all bid on getting the contract.

I don’t mind competing for new business.  And I don’t really mind
RFP’s.  What I do mind, however, is an RFP that doesn’t ask the right
questions.

To the candidate client to be, some friendly advise: 

1.  We are all going to tell you the same thing.  We have
industry experience and your account team is ideally suited with over
5,000 (not a misprint) years of expertise. 

2.  We’ll show you case study after case study on how we
helped this client do this and this client do that.  The reality is
that whatever we did for this or that client was appropriate for that
client, and may not be appropriate for you.

3.  Please don’t ask about the "branding question."  Branding
is like air.  It’s such an open issue and subject to so many different
opinions.

4. Don’t ask us if we have "the right contacts."   Yes, we
are well connected, but that is not why you should hire us, or any
other firm.  The reality is that there are so many journalists,
analysts, bloggers and thought leaders that it is impossible to keep
track with everyone who you think should cover your company.

Even if we don’t know anyone in your space, that’s fine.  We are not
bashful to reach out to the media, the blogosphere, or industry
analysts who should know about you- assuming that we have a great and
compelling story to tell.

And BTW, if we do "have the right contact," we are not going to
approach them unless we have something compelling for them.  That’s why
we have "the right contact(s)."

5.  If you have a budget, tell us.   There are certain things we can
do for you at certain price points.  If you don’t have a budget, we can
certainly give you price ranges.  If you have the budget to do these
things, please be honest and tell us.

Photo by Alan Weinkrantz (c) 2005

4 Comments

  1. Your blog makes interesting reading.

    Reply
  2. Alan:
    I’ve actually stopped “competing” for business after a disastrous RFP experience.
    I have that luxury as a small firm, but I agree with you 100 percent that most RFPs for public relations or communications services are completely a waste of time.

    Reply
  3. Alan,
    I liked where you were going with this – but it left me wanting. You tell us what NOT to ask – but you don’t ever tell us what we SHOULD ask.
    I’ve been on the client end of a dozen PR RFPs – they’re awful – regardless of what questions are asked. They’re completely formulaic. I’ll give you the budget, I’ll assume you’ve for the contacts, I’ll assume you’ve you have the skill to answer the “branding question” subjectively, in time – and I’ll assume you’ve got a dozen case studies up your sleeve.
    So tell me, what’s the difference? How do you differentiate and if you’re all the same (as this post seems to illustrate) what should I be looking for? What should I be asking?
    The best PR agency I’ve worked with is INK Public Relations in Austin, Texas. I can tell you – that instead of telling me that “We’re all going to tell you the same thing..” – they would tell me something different. I guess that is how the creme rises to the top – not by a concesssion of sameness, but a war against it.
    Don’t send this post to your clients as suggested above – I promise, it will only piss them off.

    Reply

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