Better RFP Responses & Management
Answer the Question Once (Just Once)

Answer the Question Once (Just Once)

Every RFP question must be answered: everyone knows that.  Every RFP question should be answered just once: not everyone knows that.  

Whoever invented copy/paste has a lot to answer for.

Like 15 pages of text on preventive maintenance with no discernible structure.

Like 5 pages of text on reporting with no discernible structure.

And both, when you dig into them a bit, highly repetitive. Oh, look, here’s almost the same content again!  And again.  And again.

Copy/pasted from previous proposals and laid end to end.


Read the question (RTQ).

Answer the question (ATQ).

Once, damn it.

Laying three (or more) answers end to end is not on.


  1. Jim Taylor

    I don’t — thank God — have to deal with proposals. I used to have to deal with verbose authors. Individual authors were bad enough; authors-by-committee were worse. I have, somewhere, a sentence by a Health Canada committee that covers everything from sunrise to sundown in 125 interminable abstractions.
    But the winner for (intentionally) long sentences has to go to William Rivers Pitt, who recently wrote a 1255 word sentence for TruthOut about the American military-industrial complex. He answered everything but what to do about it.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim T – I get a kick out of the editors of Genesis, who just concatenated the two creation stories. (I can hear them now – “Do you think anyone will notice?” “Nah, just put them both in.” – I don’t want those guys on my proposal team, that’s for sure.) I think what happens is that people don’t pay much attention to what they’re reading – as long as it seems to flow, they sort of stay in the moment, forgetting what they read, oh, say, a page back. As for individuals versus committees, yes, give me one throat to choke. What improves documents is successive reviews, not multiple helpers around the table at the same time.

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