How to Decide If You Should Respond to a Virtual Assistant RFP
Do you read job postings for Virtual Assistants and don’t submit a proposal, even if you think you could do the work?
We post a good number of RFPs here at CAVA, and sometimes the clients tell us that they did not get a lot of responses.
Sometimes they don’t get any responses at all – like a recent screened RFP we posted.
If you read them and don’t respond, why is that?
An RFP (Request for Proposal) is a job posting from a client who needs help. Now.
Like, they are looking to pay someone to do work for them. Now.
If you see one that you think you could do, and you don’t respond to it, you are essentially turning down the client.
If you do respond, your odds of getting the work are VERY high. Yes, okay, some RFPs get a lot of responses – depending on the work the client is looking to get done. You definitely can’t get the work if you don’t submit a proposal.
And if you do respond and you don’t get the work, you can get feedback from the client as to why they went with someone else, so you can improve your proposal for the next client.
So how do you know if you should respond?
Here is my biggest tip to help you decide:
If you think you could help them … like, at all … Send. Them. A. Proposal.
There are many details in most RFPs, but if you find one that you have some experience and/or training with, and you think you might be able to do it, put a proposal together.
Clients May Not Know What They Need
Clients often don’t really know what they are looking for. Look to any discovery call you do with a client and you know how much conversation you have to have about the client’s needs to see if you can help them.
Sometimes filling in an RFP form makes it hard for the client to concisely communicate their needs.
Sometimes the client puts in a lot of tasks – some you can do, some you can’t.
Sometimes they don’t put in enough details for you. (We do try to make sure to clarify vague RFP postings with the clients before we post them).
The Client is Not a VA
You must remember that the client is NOT a VA. They might never have worked with a VA before. They aren’t sure what they should be asking of you.
But if you think that you can help the client with the most important pieces of their needs, send in a proposal.
Explain in your cover letter what you can do and what you might need training or procedures for.
Send a Cover Letter and PDF Proposal
And yes, we do suggest that you send both a cover letter and a proposal (PDF).
The cover letter can be the email you send letting the client know that you are submitting a proposal (it serves the same purpose). But the proposal definitely should be a downloadable document for the client – not an email, not a shared file.
Why? The client is probably collecting a lot of proposals and it is easiest if they can download them all and then look through them at the same time. When you make a client go from email, to Google or Dropbox, to their download folder, it can get really difficult to keep track of the proposals sent in. Yours might get missed if it’s not an actual document. (Hot tip: put your own name in the filename!)
Use a Proposal Template
Also, when you use a proposal template, it makes it SUPER simple (and quick) to send a proposal to a client. Imagine you see an RFP posted, you go into your template – add in the client details, their scope of work, and send it off. You are the first to respond. Do you know how impressive that is to a client? I’ll tell you, VERY. We provide a proposal template in the CAVA member area and our members have told us that they were not successful in getting clients until they started using this template – and now they are winning RFPs.
Make Your Proposal About The Client
Last point, and it’s absolutely essential – make your proposal all about the client. What do they need? That’s what your proposal should showcase. If you want to put a short blurb about yourself or your company in it, do so after you have covered all of their information. The proposal is in response to their job posting. That’s what our proposal template does – puts the client front and center.
Clients Only Want to Know Two Things
I say this all the time. Clients only want to know two things: what you can do for them, and how much it will cost them. Do not leave these things out of your proposal. Tell them what you can do, the related experience and/or training you have, and how much it will cost them.
Leave Out Stuff They Don’t Need
Do not put anything in your proposal about services they are not asking about. This is not your website, it’s a direct response to their job posting. It needs to be specific enough so that they can see what they asked for, and how you are proposing to look after that for them. That’s all.
At CAVA we have an RFP training that is also invaluable. If you are submitting proposals and not hearing back from the client, your membership fee is worth its weight in gold to get the template and the training. Because they work.
When you do everything above, you will find yourself responding to more proposals than ever before. And the clients WILL call you, because you put their needs at the forefront, which is what it’s all about.
And when you are honest about what you can and can’t do, the client can make an informed decision about whether you are the right person to invest in – and you will start your VA-client relationship off on such a good foot. Try it with the next RFP you see!
If you need help with responding to proposals, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/
About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. Tracey owns CAVA VA association and teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.