How many times have you received an RFP (Request For Proposal) from a “potential” and previously unknown company, a strange entity that has not been qualified as a good prospect. Today’s technology makes it impossible to determine the motive for unknown companies to approach and ask for definitive and sensitive information including pricing, capabilities, staff and annual sales volume?
Are they genuine? Are they sincere? Or are they getting their required magical “3” vendor pricing to appease their respective decision maker before they assign or worse yet pass on this information to their present vendor!
How many times have you resisted making that three point shot with this RFP request rolled up into your recyclable file 13?
RFPing is a common tactic used by corporations to hire a marketing or advertising firm to gather “information” on competitors to best strategically market themselves or in reality to get closely guarded information.
I am a president of ROM Squared, Inc., my company is a production hub for clients that do not have staff, equipment capabilities, or knowledge to duplicate, package, or create their own optical CD/DVD media requirements.
Recently, I received a RFI (Request For Information) from a very large educational marketing company via email. The email had an enclosed PDF requesting information that frankly, I don’t even think my doctor has.
My instinct was to practice my jump shot, but on further consideration I decided to call the requester and asked why they considered my company in their search for a vendor.
This is where it became interesting.
The individual said that she “Link in” and found my listing and recognized a name of someone she trusted in my bio. Upon further conversations I realized that she indeed new someone that we both mutually trusted and respected.
Webster Dictionary describes synergy:
syn•er•gy n. pl. syn•er•gies
1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
2. Cooperative interaction among groups, especially among the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect.
Individually, the company requesting the information would not have received the useful information needed in making a proper purchasing decision, and my company would have lost out on a very qualified prospect by providing guarded information.
My conception of this request immediately changed. Instead of being wary and guarded with the requested information, I was compelled to answer in great detail and very accurately, the information desired.
My results were extremely positive. ROM Squared made the next stage in the decision making cycle of this company. We were informed that based on our reply we were considered an excellent vendor and were invited to join in a later formal RFP presentation.
The opportunity almost lost by an unknown company’s request was instead forged with positive energy, a synergy if you will by Linked In.
As an executive and CEO of a company it isn’t unusual to be asked to be “invited” to be linked.
Individually, we all have personal criteria for those individuals that we include into our link: integrity, professional interaction or experience, professional organization members, etc. The bottom line is that they are individuals that we trust.
The purity of these criteria is essential for the credibility and usefulness of Linked In as a powerful tool of positive networking.
Presently, I do not know the end result of the negotiations with my potential client. What I do know is that with the common denominator of two individual companies being Link In, made a very powerful synergy.
Perhaps the result will be included in another “blog”.
Thomas A. Brunhart
ROM Squared, Inc.