Competing in an RFP?
Here’s what everyone else will write:
- All about their company: years in business, number of offices, “Our team” smiling headshots and long, long resumes.
- Reasons why their company is the best – peppered with buzz words like “innovation”, “collaboration” and the latest and greatest “disruption”.
- Answers to specific RFP outcomes in the “all about us” tone of voice.
This approach isn’t “wrong” - when blurred by emotion our first response is always cliché. Because it represents a huge business opportunity we become emotional and panicked. A state known as “Pitch Haze.” Our mind grabs the easy answer first, which is based on what we’ve always done thus what everyone else is doing.
How to stand out
Would you like to be “sold to” or hear a story?
Telling a story does more than engage and entertain – it creates inception. Research from Princeton University[i] found a story was the only way to activate parts of the brain where the listener turns the story into their own idea and experience. Thus, when information is structured into a story, people deduce the key message, take it on board and make it their own.
When we watch a movie, we reflect what the character is doing back onto ourselves – “I do that” / “I should do that.” Children’s television is a shining example; God bless The Wiggles for teaching children that Fruit Salad is “Yummy, Yummy” and to buckle up in the Big Red Car.
Dare to be different. If your RFP is simply, “telling someone what you want them to know” – it will have little impact. We’ve all become immune to the hard sell.
Tell a story – don’t be afraid they won’t get it. As Hollywood Screenwriting Guru, Robert McKee, says, “Never underestimate the intelligence of your audience.”[ii] Create inception. There’s no greater competitive advantage than your decision maker feeling like it’s their idea to award you the deal.
Want more tips on overcoming Pitch Haze?
Download our Pitch Presentation White Paper.
[i] Wildrich, L 2012, “The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains” Lifehacker, May 12, 2012, link.
[ii] McKee, R 1999, Story: Substance, style and the principles of screenwriting, Methuen, London.