I Got Yer Proposal Right Here

Just Say No to RFPs

By Published on .

Peter Madden Peter Madden
The author has had it up to his contact lenses with responding to RFPs (especially after a particularly torturous series of presentations with a jewelry company famed for its blue boxes). He thought other like-minded marketers might find the below response useful. Instead of wasting valuable time, money, and effort, just copy and tailor to your own needs.


Thank you for inviting AGENCY NAME to participate in your company's review of proposals to handle your business.

But we'll have to give you a big, fat NO FREAKING THANKS. Below are six reasons. I'd give an even 10 but I have to get back to productive work.
  1. We're not fans of giving away our creative concepts and strategies for free. Our clients (none of whom we landed through an RFP process) pay us well to do things like that.
  2. The first "get together" with COMPANY NAME will most likely be like an awkward first date -- except without the wine and potential hook up. Just tired of the thousand-yard gaze while we're trying to get you excited about what we could do for your company. Well, maybe we will elect to participate if we can bring a nice Chilean red and you bring a sense of humor, or at least some emotion.
  3. Your ridiculous RFP. Thick as "War and Peace," as interesting to read as O: The Oprah Magazine; more instructions than a flight manual; inane requests to send 15 copies, in an exact order, bound an exact way. Never mind the fact that no one at COMPANY NAME wants to sit down and have an actual conversation about what the real problem is. Need I go on?
  4. We're sure you've known who you wanted to work with the entire time. Yes, it's the company that you can push around the most and who will cost you the least. Ummmm, that's not AGENCY NAME.
  5. We're a little tired of making it to the final round and ending up with a big "Sorry we didn't choose you but we really liked you" ribbon.
  6. Even if we aren't elected to work with COMPANY NAME, you will give us zero useful information about why not. You'd think given the amount of time and effort we've spent, you at least owe us something more than "not the right fit."
From now on, I'll guess that anyone with an RFP in his hand isn't a right fit for us, either. But thanks for asking.



PS: On a personal note, thanks for the silver golf ball marker. That made it all worth it in the end. Really.

PPS: Any RFP war stories from fellow agencies? I'm sure there's plenty. I feel your pain but when you just say no to the RFP, you're freed up to do real business, I promise.
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