Dating in the 21st century is weird. Traditional courting is obsolete. With texting and emails and swiping left and right, it’s hard to figure out how to contact someone – never mind finding the right person.
In some ways, the Request for Proposal (RFP) process is a lot like the dating process. You reach out to multiple suitors, hoping they want to date you as much as you want to date them. The suitors respond with their intentions and then wait by the phone on a Friday night hoping that they get a call for the big date. Sometimes a suitor never hears anything and he wonders if he had something stuck in his teeth or stumbled into some bad lighting. And the suitor who does get the call enters into a beautiful relationship (or a quick fling) for as long as the two parties want to be involved.
In order to stay up-to-date on the RFP process – I can’t help you with the dating – we’ve come up with some tips to help you through it.
- Create a list of perfect partner traits.
Everyone has a list of what they are looking for in a partner. Get together with your team and come up with a list of skills you are looking for in an agency. What kind of hard skills do you need in order for the partnership to be successful? What kind of personality traits would work well with your team? If the partnership lasted for a long time, whom would you want to go the distance with? Prioritizing this information can really help you once you get into the actual courting process.
- Be a selective dater.
Quality over quantity is key when you’re dating, and also when you are looking for an agency. Once you have that perfect partner list, do a little research on the agencies that catch your eye and try to narrow it down to 3-5 that you think would be a perfect fit with your goals.
- Be clear with your intentions.
You don’t want to date someone who is obsessed with Star Wars if you are strictly a Trekkie, and you definitely don’t want to read an RFP from an agency who doesn’t offer what you need. The process goes a lot smoother when both parties know exactly what the other one wants. It’s important to clearly state your goals, challenges and specifically what you’re looking for in a deliverable.
- Evaluate past relationships.
Knowing how someone’s last relationship ended and how that ex feels about them is important in evaluating how an agency will be in a relationship with you, but it shouldn’t be the sole reason you pick someone. Expertise with past work and clients are a slice of what an agency has to offer, but try to see each relationship with agencies as a new beginning and a fresh start.
Going into any new relationship can be scary and exciting, but if you do your research and know what you want, you can both live happily ever after.